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Jed Coal and Coke Company
Jed Mine Explosion

Jed, McDowell County, West Virginia
March 26, 1912
No. Killed - 81

Documents related to the disaster  (5.8 Mb)  PDF Format
Other Children Killed in Mine Accidents

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(From Bureau of Mines Report by G. S. Rice and J. W. Paul)

The explosion occurred at 7:20 a.m. when 91 men were in the mine.  11 men at the shaft bottom and in 2 entries not reached by the explosion escaped, but 1, a door boy, died after being brought to the surface.

The damp condition and wideness of the entries leading to the shaft allowed the explosion to die away and prevented wrecking of the hoisting and air shafts.  The mine was gassy, and ventilation did not keep the gas below the danger point.  Rooms were turned in advance of the last crosscut, and open doors caused short circuiting of the air.

Gas in a butt entry was ignited by a miner's open light.  The explosion fed by dust and gas traveled toward the shaft but died out on damp ground.  Indication on the surface was a rush of air and smoke from the mine openings.  In half an hour men with flame safety lamps began erecting temporary stoppings.

Rescue crews and rescue cars with breathing apparatus arrived quickly, and the work of restoring ventilation was carried on in a systematic manner.  By the following day the entire mine had been explored and many bodies recovered.  Others located under falls were not removed for several days.  Where explosive gas concentrations could not be easily removed electric hand lamps were used for illumination.

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume I

81 Instantly Killed in Mine Explosion
The New York Times, New York
March 27, 1912

Welch, West Va., March 26 -- Eighty-one men were killed today by a gas explosion in the Jed Coal and Coke Company mine at Jed, West Va., six miles from here.  Only eleven men escaped alive, and one of those died within an hour after being brought to the surface.

Tonight thirty-three bodies had been located.  Exploring parties will have covered all of the mine by 3 o'clock Wednesday morning, and expect to have all the bodies out by noon.

When the explosion took place probably only the eleven men working at the foot of the shaft had a chance for their lives.  They made their way up the cages which were not damaged.  Though some of the blades of the fans were shattered, they continued to operate with the result that enough air was present to admit searching parties immediately.

Less than half an hour after the news of the explosion had been communicated to this place relief measures were started.  Oxygen helmets and other appliances were rushed from the plant of the United States Coal and Coke Company, a United States Steel Corporation mine nearby, a Government rescue car en route to Huntington, W. Va., was turned back on telegraphic orders from Washington and another car was started from Pittsburgh.  The first car reached here shortly after noon.

State mine inspectors promptly organized rescue parties and began the exploration of levels.  As the gases were cleared out and they began search of the lower levels, they came upon the bodies of the miners.  It is believed they were all killed instantly.

Other mines sent experienced foremen to lead hundreds of volunteer rescuers who flocked to the scene as the news spread.  The usual scenes of suffering which attend mine disasters were lacking here today.  The families of the miners remained within their homes, overcome with grief.

The mine was inspected last Friday and pronounced safe.  Preliminary investigations today have not divulged the cause of the explosion.  Some local mine men are inclined to regard it as a physical phenomenon.  Barometers in this vicinity have been showing unusually low readings for the last week without the usual atmospheric changes.

The families of the dead men are in sore straits.  Work has been very slack at the mine.  Outside aid will be asked.

Listing of the killed miners:

John Agash
Merco Agnew
Sol Agnew
Joe Borotz
Guiseppe Caparal
Charles Chandler
Jack Chandler
Mike Crosgashi
Willie Denton
Alex Dombroski
Emilio Felex
Dettino Felex
Rinaldo Felex
John Fleshman
John Fuigley
Andrew George
Robert Gillispie
Lee Gilman
I. C.Gilman
Frank Goyla
Mike Goyla
John Greley
Mario Guidolotti
Mike Guydluck
Sam Hampton
Tony Harendo
Henry Harris
William Harris
James Haynes
William F. Helton
Frank Hill
Steve Howard
Samuel Jefferson
Ed Johnson
Alex Kissavich
Valle Lash
James Leeper
Paul Matee
Sterling Martin
Ed Mcclure
John Mcclure
Adam Mimsick
Frank Molnar
John Moto
Steve Moto
Kal Papp
James Parsons
Mike J. Patt
Bruno Pecos
R. E. Pennington
Domineck Perri
Frank Rice
Joe Ross
Alex Sabo
John Sammy
Thomas Sanders
Peter Sarvoliski
Peter Sowalski
Bert Selida
Sam Ski
George Smith
Alex Solaski
Giovanni Sovanni
Carmelo Spagnoula
Francisco Spagnoula
Victor Steele
Nick Stide
Ted Swabie
Mike Syntor
Steve Szatmaria
Alex Tarantello
Wilson Terryall
Emmett Terry
Mike Williams
W. J. Woodward
Steve Yaskoney
Andre Zavechy

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