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Kettle Creek Coal Company
Kettle Creek Mine Explosion

Westport, Clinton County, Pennsylvania
November 3, 1888
No. Killed - 17

1888 Pennsylvania Bituminous Annual Report  (6.0 Mb)  PDF Format
Colliery Engineer Narrative Report  (3.1 Mb)  PDF Format
List of Fatalities  PDF Format
From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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(From State Inspector's Report, 1888, (pp 312-313)

Dynamite was being used to blast a ditch in the rock floor of a heading.  The drill post gave way and fell on a supply of dynamite and caps that had just been brought in.  The explosion was propagated by coal dust throughout most of the mine and up the airshaft.

Despite popular belief that gas must be present to carry on explosion, the mine inspector concluded that coal dust was ignited.  Five of the victims working in the vicinity of the dynamite explosion were killed by violence; the others died from suffocation and “afterdamp.”

The Cook’s Run Mine Disaster
Renovo Record, Pennsylvania
November 8, 1888

Cook's Run, Penn. -- The disaster which took place, near Cook's Run, this county, on the Kettle Coal and Mining Company's mines, last Saturday afternoon, has already been detailed so minutely in the daily press that we will but add the result of the Coroner's Jury.

The Dead and Injured:
  • Charles Alman, 25
  • John Anderson, 20
  • George Beckus, 32
  • John Beckus, 28
  • Aaron Carlson, 35
  • John Carlson, 25
  • Dom Closkey, 40
  • Michael Curran, 37, leaves wife and seven children
  • Patrick Donley, 55, leaves wife and seven children
  • Michael Marcy, 22
  • Sylvester Marcy, 19
  • George Mellets, 35
  • Martin Pierson, 20
  • Maurice Yanks, 27
  • 1 unknown, aged 24
The injured are Wesley Smoke, Aaron Anderson and John Anderson, all of whom, though badly cut and bruised, are likely to recover.  Many of the dead were terribly disfigured and mangled.

The testimony at the inquest all went to show that the mine was properly ventilated and that no blame belongs to anyone except the miners themselves.  Their familiarity with the dangerous explosives which they used in their daily vocations, had no doubt rendered them careless in the manner of handling it and led to the disaster, which resulted in their deaths.  The force of the explosion must have been terrible, as every particle of clothing was stripped from many of the dead bodies.

Coroner Mader empanelled as jury Messrs.  Hugh McLeod and Theodore Runion of Lock Haven, Joseph Seel of Renovo, Mr. Gleason and Mr. Bunnell of North Bend, and James Smith of Westport.  The testimony of a number of witnesses was heard and a verdict was rendered.  The Coroner stated that the testimony went to show that the explosion was caused by dynamite.

The miners were known to have had a considerable quantity of dynamite in the mines, and shortly before the explosion occurred one of the men called at the supply store and obtained a quantity of fuse with which he returned to the mine.  The Coroner states that the testimony of the man from whom the fuse was obtained, was to the effect that the explosion occurred within fifteen minutes after.  There was a double explosion, owing to the fact that the powder used by the miners was kept in different places.

Anson Smoke, one of the injured miners, died yesterday, which makes 18 victims from the sad disaster.

The bodies of three Swedish miners who have relatives living in town, were taken to North Bend on Tuesday, and interred in the cemetery of that place.  Eight of the victims were buried in Drury's Run cemetery; one was taken to Snow Shoe in Centre County.

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