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Valley Camp Coal Company
Kinloch Mine Explosion

Parnassus 1, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
February 20, 1928
No. Killed 12

USBM Final Investigation Report  (3.7 Mb)  PDF Format

See also: Kinloch Mine Explosion, Mar. 21, 1929

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
(news links open in a separate window) 1 New Kensington, PA annexed the independent borough of Parnassus in 1939.

Successful Rescue

One miner was found alive after an explosion at the Kinloch underground coal mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company in Parnassus, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.  The rescued miner was trapped for nearly 1 day.  12 miners were killed in this accident.  (Parnassus was later renamed New Kensington).

The Deceased (official):

These ten miners died in the Kinloch mine:
  1. Parley Bell, 34
  2. West Blackman, 38
  3. Thomas Burtoft, 47
  4. William Casey, 23
  5. John Clark, 30
  6. William Ivory, 30
  7. Kinzy Nice, 21
  8. John Pool, 27
  9. Andrew Stroder, 21
  10. Charles Wise, 23
Source: Pennsylvania Mine Accidents, 1925-1932  PDF Format
These two miners died in the adjacent Boyd mine of the H. W. Boyd Coal Company, several miles from the scene of the explosion.  These men were killed by blackdamp which swept through to the connecting mine after the explosion.
  1. Newton Beck
  2. Louis Wentzel
Source: The Pittsburgh Press, Feb 21, 1928  PDF Format

Five Known Dead, Seven Missing in Mine Blast
Warren Tribune, Pennsylvania
February 21, 1928

New Kensington, Pa., Feb. 21. -- Rescue squads pushed into the depths of the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company at Parnassus late today expecting to find the bodies of seven men reported missing in the explosion last night which rocked the workings.

The bodies of three miners were brought up the Kinloch incline to the pit mouth at noon.

Helmet squadrons of the mining company and the U. S. Bureau of Mines at Pittsburgh believed they would find the seven men in scattered work rooms far within the mine before many hours.  Experts said there was little chance they could be alive.

Five Bodies Recover at the Kinloch Mine
United Press
February 21, 1928

New Kensington, Pa., Feb. 21. -- (UP) -- The bodies of five explosion victims in the Kinloch and Boyd mines of the Valley Camp Coal Company near here were recovered at noon today.  Seven other miners were still missing.

Three of the bodies were recovered from the Kinloch mine where the explosion occurred at 9:30 o'clock last night and the other two were taken from the workings of the Boyd mine, several miles from the scene of the explosion.  The latter two were killed by blackdamp which swept through to the connecting mine after the explosion.

Five men were known to have escaped injury when the blast rocked the Kinloch mine and five more men were able to get to the surface when the gas swept into the Boyd slopes.

The bodies recovered were those of:
  • Wes Beck
  • Louis Wentzel
  • William Casey
  • Kinsey Nice
  • Thomas Burtoft
The bodies of Beck and Wentzel were found by rescue workers about three-quarters of a mile from the entrance of the Boyd mine.  They had been overcome by the blackdamp gas.

Bert Black, the only man so far recovered from either of the mines alive, was rescued in the Boyd workings.  In attempting to escape the gas he had run about a half mile in the slope before he became exhausted and fell.

Rescue squads pushed their way through the gaseous chambers of the Kinloch mine this afternoon with little hope of finding any of the seven missing miners alive.

Officials said all miners in the Boyd slopes had been accounted for.  The miners in these workings were overcome by the gas when they went to their locations for work at 7 a.m.  They had not known that the blackdamp had swept into their pits from the Kinloch blast.

Some of the men in the Kinloch mine were negroes employed as machine runners.  The other men were white coal cutters.

O. S. Taylor, purchasing agent of the coal company, said the following men were missing in the Kinloch mine:
  • John Clark
  • Parley Bell
  • William Ivory
  • West Blackman
  • Andrew Stroter
  • Charles Wise
  • William Casey
  • Kinsey Nice
  • John Pool
  • Thomas Burtoft

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