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Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company
Lance Colliery Explosives Detonation

Plymouth, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
May 5, 1904
No. Killed - 5

1904 PA Annual Report Description  (1.9 Mb)  PDF Format
Official List of the Deceased  PDF Format
Pittston Gazette News Article  (1.4 Mb)  PDF Format
Additional Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company Disasters:

An explosion of dynamite occurred which instantly killed two men and fatally injured three other men who were in the gangway at the time.

Dynamite and blasting caps were stored in a box when a terrific explosion occurred.  The cause of the explosion was not determined.

(From the 1904 Pennsylvania Anthracite Dept. of Mines Annual Report)

On May 5th at 11.40 a.m. in the Hillman vein seam, 14 tunnel, shaft level, Lance Colliery, an explosion of dynamite occurred by which the following persons were instantly killed:

The deceased:
  • Edward Gallagher, Irish, miner
  • John Phillips, Polish, laborer
The following persons fatally injured:
  • Thomas Cummings, American, runner
  • Edward Thomas, Welsh, driver
  • Felix Smith, Polish, laborer
Gallagher and his two laborers were back a considerable distance from the face of the gangway.  Gallagher stood at the entrance of the gangway, or at the terminus of the tunnel; Phillips, his laborer, was at the box, where dynamite and caps were stored; Smith was inside, a distance of about 35 feet, when a terrific explosion occurred.

Gallagher was killed by shock.  Phillips' body was badly mutilated.  Smith was burned on the face, arms and body, and received a punctured wound in the pectoral region, and a fracture of thigh and elbow.  He died at Mercy Hospital May 7.  Cummings died at the Hospital May 6.  Edward Thomas died at the City Hospital May 5.

No one who was in the immediate vicinity could give a positive statement how the accident occurred.

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