Mine Safety Training Repository
united states mine rescue association
Mine Disasters in the United States

Tank's Poetry

Father Time
See more disasters
from this year
Calendar Image
Mine Disaster Calendar

Brookfield Coal Company
Brookfield Mine Asphyxiations

Brookfield, Trumbull County, Ohio
July 11, 1877
No. Killed - 7

Related Correspondence and News  (3.8 Mb)  PDF Format

From News Archives:
(news links open in a separate window)
Editor's Note: The NIOSH database lists this accident as having occurred in Brookfield, Ohio, while the news article designates Wheatland, Pennsylvania.  These communities are in close proximity to their respective state borders.  Wheatland is a borough in Mercer County.

(From “The Chronical”, Warren, Ohio, Wednesday, Wednesday, July 18, 1877)

The scene of the accident was the Brookfield Mine Tunnel, which was completed last winter.  It runs underground a distance of about a mile in three directions, and over ten miles of entry work have been driven.  The tunnel is 3,915 feet long.  Until recently the coal has been transported on cars drawn by mules.

This not proving adequate or satisfactory, a small locomotive was employed, in which anthracite coal was used.  The tunnel being narrow - 8 feet wide at the bottom, six at the top, and six feet high - the smoke and noxious gases generated formed a deadly poison.

On the 11th instance, a number of men working in that part of the mine were suffocated by the foul air, seven of whom lost their lives.  The men with the engine, after being in the slope but a short time, became affected by the gas, and fell in a senseless condition.

The engineer managed to reach the mouth of the tunnel and gave the alarm.  A number of persons rushed in to rescue the affected men, but were themselves overcome by the gas.  Squads were then organized to go in and bring out the fallen, and in this way 36 were taken out, there being seven fatal cases.

On whom the responsibility immediately rests, if upon any party in person, we have not learned.  The popular talk is that the disaster is properly chargeable to defective ventilation, and that Mr. Jones, superintendent of the mine, one of the men who perished, had urged the sinking of an additional ventilating shaft, but that his recommendation had not been complied with.

The State Mine Inspector, Andrew Roy, Esq., in his last annual report, says he visited this mine, and found it “a strong current of air” rarefaction being caused by 24 feet boilers placed at the bottom of the air shaft to make steam for the water pump.

“The air doors of the mine, and all the other ventilating arrangements are well maintained, and the mine is in good condition.”

This was before the employment of an anthracite coal burning locomotive in the mine and that may account for the changed condition of the air in the mine.

See more about these products