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Delaware and Hudson Company
Boston Colliery Fire

Larksville, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
May 10, 1911
No. Killed - 5

1911 Pennsylvania Annual Report Description  (211 Kb)  PDF Format
1911 Anthracite Fatalities  (18.7 Mb)  PDF Format
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Successful Rescue

Five lives were lost in the Boston mine of the Delaware & Hudson Company at Larksville by suffocation.  Several rescue parties at the risk of their own lives entered the workings and succeeded in taking out John Morrissey, Patrick Lloyd and John Benditus after an undisclosed period.  When brought to the surface they were quickly revived.  Several of the rescuers were overcome by the smoke and one of them was prostrated, he was rescued by a fourth rescuing party.  Regarding the investigation as to the cause of the fire, it was said that a workman left a naked light in the shaft, which fired the timbers.  The blaze worked its way down the shaft timbers, sending the smoke into the various chambers.  The men were trapped in one of the inner gangways.  The flames and smoke drove them forward, and all avenues of escape were cut off.  Source document PDF Format

The fire was discovered by two men living in the neighborhood of the opening and the alarm given about 10:00 on the evening of the 10th.

The cause of the fire was not ascertained, however, George Rice, Mining Engineer, was of the opinion that a miner on his way home that evening intended to hide his mining lamp behind one of the legs of the timbers.  As is very common, the cotton, being comparatively dry due to the saving of the oil, may have smoldered while in its hiding position.

Eventually, the cotton flamed up and ignited the timber lagging and legs.

Note: Explosion of gas by open light is believed to have caused the fire according to the Wilkes-Barre Record on May 11, 1911.  In another article on May 12th in the Wilkes-Barre Record, a report from a Boston Colliery officials said it was impossible for explosion of gas to cause accident.

White Damp in Mine Causes Five Deaths
New Castle News, Pennsylvania
May 11, 1911

Wilkes-Barre, Pa., May 11 -- Five lives were lost in the Boston Mine of the Delaware and Hudson Coal Company, at Larksville, near here last night.  The victims were suffocated by white damp.  Three other workers had narrow escapes.  When found the bodies of the victims were 1,000 feet from the scene of the accident.

The dead:
  • John Malast, 17 of Larksville, door boy
  • George Fender, 19 of Larksville, driver
  • Jacob Eurilla, 25 of Larksville, miner
  • John Russbuski, 29 of Larksville, miner
  • William Angelovicz, 35 of Larksville, laborer
Officials of the company were unable to make an investigation of the cause of the fire today, owing to the mine being filled with gas.  The origin will probably never be known, but it is believed to have been caused by a spark from a miner's lamp falling in the timber at the mouth of a manway.  None of the men who were killed were within 1,000 feet of the fire.  The three who escaped were warned of their danger by advancing clouds of smoke and succeeded in reaching the foot of the shaft in time to be lifted to safety.

Only ten or twelve men were in the mine last night at 9 o'clock when the fire started.

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