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Lehigh Valley Coal Company
Franklin Mine Explosion

Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
December 11, 1947
No. Killed - 8

USBM Final Investigation Report  (1.6 Mb)  PDF Format
1947 Pennsylvania Annual Report Description  (1.1 Mb)  PDF Format
1947 List of Anthracite Fatalities  (2.4 Mb)  PDF Format

5 Dead, 2 Hurt in Eastern Mine Blasts
Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah
December 12, 1947

Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Dec. 11 (UP) -- Five men were killed and two others injured seriously Thursday when two explosions ripped through a tunnel of the Franklin mine of the Lehigh Coal Company 1,000 feet underground.

An eighth man working in the anthracite vein 2,000 feet from the mine entrance was missing.  Rescue squads searched for him through splintered timber, coal dirt and twisted rails.

Dead from the one-two blast, apparently caused by a gas pocket, were Stephen Sillup, 47, Ashley; Frank Chudlio, 55, Scranton; Ignatz Skzynecki, 57, Wilkes-Barre township; Roger Jones, 41, Kingston; and Casper Pulak, 24, Wilkes-Barre.  Pulak died in Wilkes-Barre General hospital several hours after the explosions.

The injured, who suffered severe burns of the entire body, were John Gasper, 25, and Edmund Oljeski, 42, both of Mountain Top.

The blasts, apparently caused by a gas pocket, occurred shortly before noon at the foot of the No. 9 slope of the Ross vein.  John Gola, 53, a miner working in another vein 500 feet away, said the concussion knocked some of his fellow workers off their feet.

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