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Pulaski Anthracite Company
Parrott Mine Explosion

Parrott, Pulaski County, Virginia
January 18, 1932
No. Killed - 6

USBM Final Investigation Report  (4.7 Mb)  PDF Format
From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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(From Bureau of Mines Report, by J. F. Davies)

A local explosion in the 5 east section about 5:25 p.m. resulted in the death of the six men in that section.  The remainder of the night crew, 12 men, were not injured, although some were in the zone of violence in the west section.  All escaped.  The mine officials did not call for assistance or notify the State mine inspector or the Federal Bureau of Mines.

Rescue parties recovered the bodies by advancing the air by means of canvas brattices.  No rescue apparatus was used.  The mine was known to be gassy, and a fireboss went into the mine at 4:00 a.m.  His examinations were not thorough, and the written reports were vague.

Methane was present in the air in almost all the workings, and ventilation was so arranged that methane laden air from inactive sections was carried into active sections.

The ventilation in 5 east section was deficient, and explosive accumulation had built up near the face of the entry, which was ignited when two of the men attempted to light cigarettes.  A nonsmoking rule was commonly disregarded.  The coal is a variety of semi and the dust did not propagate an explosion.

Explosion Kills Six Coal Miners
Altoona Mirror, Pennsylvania
January 19, 1932

Parrott, Va., Jan. 19. -- Bodies of six men killed in an explosion deep in the Pulaski anthracite mine were recovered early today by a rescue squad which had battled for hours against debris and gases to reach their entombed comrades.

The dead:
  • Frank Seffered
  • Dewry Seffered
  • Harvey Seffered, none of them brothers
  • Ernest Snead
  • Foster Boyd
  • Artie Boyd, his brother
The positions of their bodies indicated all had died instantly.

Cause of the blast, which roared through the main shaft only a few minutes after the twenty men of the night shift had entered the mine, probably never will be known, a mine official told the United Press today.

"The cause of the explosion has been lost forever with the deaths of the six men in that isolated section of the mine," he said.  "The explosion appeared to come from that part of the mine and the real facts were lost when the men died."

The remaining fourteen men of the late shift managed to reach the surface safely, through several were so dazed and stupefied by the mad, mad rush over the debris and through the deadly gases in the shaft, that they stumbled and fell as they reached the outside.

As word of the explosion spread through this town, crowds hastened to the mine.  Some were relatives of the men working on the night shift.

When the first of those in the explosion emerged from the mine it was believed all escaped, but when all but six were accounted for after several hours, hope for their lives was abandoned.  Other miners refused to give up their comrades without a desperate effort to save them.  The volunteers then entered the shaft to start their hunt.

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