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Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Co.
Catsburg Mine Explosion

Monongahela, Washington County, Pennsylvania
March 6, 1902
No. Killed - 5

Pennsylvania Department of Mines Annual Report  (480 Kb)  PDF Format
Mine Explosion Causes Death of Five Men
Titusville Herald, Pennsylvania
March 7, 1902

Monongahela, Pa., March 6. -- An explosion in the Catsburg mine of the Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Company today resulted in the death of five men and the serious injury of several others, two fatally.

The dead:
  • Robert Howey, mine boss, aged 50 years, married
  • James Howey, aged 20 years, son of mine boss
  • Isaac Eastwood, of Monongahela, 40 years old, married
  • John Gilder, of Charleroi, Pa., single
  • William McFarland, of Monongahela, married
Fatally injured:
  • James Haggard, married, badly burned
  • James Terrent, married, badly burned
On Monday a premature explosion of dynamite caused gas to ignite and since that time the mine has been burning.  All the air channels were closed and it was flooded so the flames could be smothered.

This morning twenty men entered the mine to investigate.  It is not explained what caused the explosion, but it is thought that the turning on of the air which had been shut off by the fan, caused the gas which had accumulated to ignite.

A terrible explosion followed soon after the men entered.  A relief party headed by Superintendent Seddon and Mine Inspector Loutitt made an effort, and nearly succeeded in reaching, the imprisoned men, but were compelled to return for air.  All were overcome and are tonight in a serious condition.

A second relief party headed by John Coulter entered the mine by another way they were forced to retreat.  A third party made a futile attempt.  A fourth attempt will be made to reach the bodies of the men who are believed to have perished.

James Haggard was reached by one rescuing party.  He was found badly burned.  James Terrent was burned by flames that shot up all around him but he crawled a thousand feet from his companion, Gilder, who was instantly killed.

The work of rescue will be carried on all night.  At a late hour there is a crowd of women and children about the pit.

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