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Westmoreland Coal Company
Hutchison Mine Explosion

Millgrove, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
April 26, 1925
No. Killed - 5

USBM Final Investigation Report  (3.7 Mb)  PDF Format
An explosion occurred at a new slope being opened by a contractor for the Westmoreland Coal Company that resulted in the death of five people.  A night shift of four people were at work in the slope about 500 feet from the entrance, taking down loose material from roof and sides with bars.  The men were doing this work from a box-platform placed in a mine car.  One of the men was up the slope some distance from the others to signal the fifth man at the entrance, who in turn signaled to the engineer when the car was to be moved.  From the evidence given, we believe that a body of gas had accumulated, and was ignited by the lights used by the men on the platform.

Five Men Lose Lives in Mine
New Castle News, Pennsylvania
April 27, 1925

Pittsburgh, Pa., April 27. -- Five men lost their lives in an explosion at the new mine of the Westmoreland Coal Company at Millgrove, Pa., according to D. J. Parker, chief engineer of the United States Bureau of Mines Rescue station here who returned to Pittsburgh after the bodies were recovered from the mine today.  An investigation to determine the cause of the accident will probably be made by the Bureau, Parker said.

One man was blown to bits by the explosion and the other four men entombed by it.  After working until early this morning, a six man crew from the Bureau station here headed by Parker reached the four bodies and brought them out.

The bodies were badly burned, Parker said.  A spark is believed to have ignited a gas pocket in the mine causing the explosion, Parker believes.

The dead:
  • James Poalovich, 47
  • Michael Socranitz, 52
  • Thomas Ostovich, 35
  • Dean C. Asher, 52
  • Pearl H. Rupert, 21
Source: Pennsylvania Mine Fatalities, 1925-1932  PDF Format

Rupert's uncle was superintendent of the mine.

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