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Mine Disasters in the United States


Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company
Maple Hill Colliery Explosives Detonation

Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
January 30, 1904
No. Killed 5

See all Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. disasters


(From Reports of the Inspectors of Coal Mines of the Anthracite Coal Regions of PA, 1904, p. 264)

On January 30, five machinists were killed in Maple Hill No. 2 shaft.  The top man says that they all came up and fired a blast, making the sump.  Then they went down again to fire another round, leaving the laborers on top.  One man soon returned to the surface again saying that he wanted four sticks of dynamite and two exploders, which he received from the top man.  He took them with him and went down again.  He held them in his hand.  The exploders were fastened in the dynamite ready to be used before he left the top of the shaft.  The top man said that the bucket had just about reached the bottom when there was a signal given to the engineer to hoist men.

When the bucket was up about 275 feet from the bottom there was an explosion, and when it landed there was no one on it.  The hose which was in the bucket was partly hanging out of it and was torn.

There was also in the bucket one monkey wrench, one manifold, one 18-inch steel point, all of which were broken except the 18-inch point.  In making a personal examination I found six rivets blown out of the bucket and the bottom bulged out.  I also found pieces of oil cloth clothes on the timber about 275 feet from the bottom.  On examining the bottom of the shaft, I found that a round of shots had been fired in the sump.

There were also five holes in the hitch in the northwest corner which were charged and two holes charged in the northeast corner hitch, and six sticks of dynamite on a loose rock connected by wire ready to be fired with the battery.  In my opinion the dynamite and exploders had not been used but were in the bucket with the men ascending the shaft.  The supposition is that one of the tools found in the bucket fell on the exploder, which was fastened to the dynamite in the bottom of the bucket, causing the explosion.

Five men were found dead at the bottom of the shaft.


Powder Exploded In Hoisting Cage, Mangling Five Rockmen
The Courier, Connellsville, Pennsylvania
February 1, 1904

Mahanoy City, Pa., Feb. 1 - Five men were instantly killed in the Maple Hill colliery of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company.

The victims, who were rockman, are:
  • Morgan Jones, 35
  • John Mackey, 23
  • Joseph Junle, 35
  • Adam Savage, 23
  • John Huderici, 31
The men were killed by an explosion of powder in a steel cage in which they were being hoisted.  The explosion ripped the cage apart and the mangled forms of the rockmen fell 800 feet to the bottom of the shaft.  The head of one of the men was blown off.

The Maple Hill is one of the collieries visited by the anthracite strike commission and it is one of the best equipped mines in the hard coal region.




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