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Moffett Schrader Mining Company
Primrose Colliery Explosion

Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
September 24, 1943
No. Killed - 14

Bureau of Mines Investigation Report  (1.8 Mb)  PDF Format
From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Successful Rescue

After an undisclosed period following the explosion, nine injured men were removed from the mine and taken to a hospital in nearby Pottsville.  Most of them were suffering from burns, bruises and shock.  Only one of these, James Connelly, was believed to be in serious condition.

14 Dead in Blast at Mine
Indiana Evening Gazette, Pennsylvania
September 25, 1943

Minersville, Sept. 25 -- (AP) -- All 14 victims of an explosion which ripped through the fifth level of the Moffett Schrader coal mine at nearby Forrestville yesterday were identified by rescue workers today, but ten of the bodies remained in the underground ruins as precautions were taken against a second blast.

Richard Maize, State Secretary of Mines, sent investigators into the shattered workings to check for any smoldering fires which might touch off accumulated gas pockets.

Maize said the cause of the blast had not been determined, but he expressed belief methane gas was ignited by a spark from mechanical loading equipment.

Grief-stricken friends and relatives huddled near the shaft of the anthracite mine awaited removal of the ten victims still underground.

Taken from the pit last night were the bodies of August Fell, Pottsville, and Robert Thompson, Steve Keystock and Nicholas Stanko, of Minersville.

Still in the fifth level ruins were the bodies of Andrew Kanykewskie, New Minersville; John Plahn, Forrestville; George Bobrick; Michael Liptok; John Dando; Archie Miller; Robert Edwards; Joseph Blase and John Adams, of Minersville.

The nine injured men were taken to a hospital in nearby Pottsville.  Most of them suffering from burns, bruises and shock.  James Connelly, Forrestville, is the only one reported to be in serious condition.

Others in the hospital are George Tracey, Forrestville; Ernest Trescott; George Nester; Barney Mellishoskey and Donald Brown, all of Minersville.  John Shemansik, of Jonestown, was burned, but was removed to his home after being brought to the surface.

Rescue squads from the U. S. Bureau of Mines and crews from nearby collieries arrived at the mine last night and are standing by ready for action as soon as the black damp can be blown out.

The mine employs approximately 600 men but only 200 were at work at the time of the explosion.

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