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Cambria Steel Company
Franklin No. 2 Mine Explosion

Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania
October 31, 1909
No. Killed - 13

USBM Final Investigation Report  (758 Kb)  PDF Format

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Twelve People Killed in Mine Slope
Indiana Evening Gazette, Pennsylvania
November 1, 1909

Johnstown, Pa., Nov. 1. -- Twelve men were killed and two others probably fatally hurt by an explosion of dynamite in Franklin No. 2 slope of the Cambria Steel Company last night.

Not a single member of a track laying gang of fourteen men employed in the slope will probably be able to tell the cause of the explosion, for the only survivors are at the point of death in the Cambria Hospital.

The identified dead:
  • James Poole, Conemaugh
  • William Dyer, Bon Air
  • Joseph Jones, Johnstown
  • Patrick Lee, Southport
  • Metro Alexo, Conemaugh
  • Mike Walovicsky, Conemaugh
Fatally Injured:
  • Robert Barr, Johnstown, in hospital and has no chance to recover
Mine officials are of the belief that a large quantity of dynamite, used in mine excavations, exploded.  All the men were mutilated and burned so badly that their identification can be established only by the recovery of the time checks and reference to the payrolls of the company.

The bodies were brought to the surface, but it will probably be some hours before the identification is completed.

It is known, however, that at least twelve of the dead and injured are foreigners, who had been employed during the day in laying new tracks in the tenth parallel in the fourth right heading of the slope.  They are known to have had a quantity of dynamite, but the work of the day was such that it is not known what use they had for the explosive.

The impact of the explosion was heard outside of the mine and a rescue party was quickly formed.  Smoke poured from the mine in dense volume and for a time it was impossible to enter the slope.  The bodies of the men were found close together.

The force of the detonation was so great that houses in this city were shaken and in the village surrounding the mine window panes were shattered.  Frightened people ran from their homes and within a few minutes hundreds had gathered at the entrance to the mine.

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