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Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company
Hollenback Colliery Explosion

Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
March 9, 1916
No. Killed - 6

1916 Pennsylvania Annual Report Description  (1.1 Mb)  PDF Format
Additional Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company Disasters:

(From the State inspector's report, 1916 pp. 16-18)

About 12:45 p.m., an explosion and fire in the 1st east gangway killed the six men in that section.  The fire prevented entrance by rescue crews, and after it was agreed that the entombed men were no longer alive the section was sealed.  In May an investigation indicated that blasting in a chamber had released gas that was ignited, possibly by a Davy lamp used in this section.

Six Miners Believed to Have Been Killed
Titusville Herald, Pennsylvania
March 10, 1916

Wilkes-Barre, March 9. -- Six mine workers are believed to have been suffocated and one mine foreman was seriously injured in a fire in a slope of the Hollenback colliery of the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company in this city, which was discovered at 1:30 this morning and which had not been conquered at midnight.  But one body of the half dozen men known to be in the part of the mine affected had been recovered up to midnight, as the smoke kept the rescue corps from reaching the victims.

No list of the names of the six victims had been issued by company officials tonight, but word was sent out at midnight that the bodies would probably be reached within an hour.  Thomas I. Evans, foreman and leader of one of the rescue corps, received burns about the hands and injuries to the back while endeavoring to reach the men who are believed to have been suffocated by smoke.

Company officials tonight said that their investigation indicated that no explosion of gas had occurred, but said that the slope was a particularly gaseous one, in which none but safety lamps were permitted.  This is the second disaster in a colliery of the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Company in this region within the past month, seven men having been killed and two injured in an explosion of gas in the Lance Colliery at Plymouth on Feb. 8.  State mine inspectors are in the workings with the rescue corps tonight making an investigation.

The deceased:
  • George Harney, 57
  • Edwin Jones, 56
  • Gabrish Kamsonka, 43
  • Leo Kazinski, 21
  • William Kazuski, 32
  • John Miskin, 19
  • Thomas I. Evans, 44
Source: PA Anthracite Mine Accidents, 1914-1923  PDF Format

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