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Mine Disasters in the United States

Pulaski Iron Company
Pulaski Mine Powder Explosion

Eckman, McDowell County, West Virginia
December 14, 1906
No. Killed 6

Fatal Powder Blast
The Washington Post, District of Columbia
December 15, 1906

Bluefield, W. Va., Dec. 14. An explosion at Eckman today of 10,000 pounds of powder, which was being transported on three mine cars from a freight car to the powder house of the Pulaski Company, resulted in the death of one, the fatal injury of two, and the serious injury of eight others.  Three of the injured are women whose homes, near the scene of the explosion, were wrecked.

The dead:
  • Joseph Steel, 19, died on the way to the hospital
Fatally Injured:
  • Alex Finney, 36
  • Mrs. George Johnson
Seriously Injured:
  • Edward Mullin, 22
  • Felix Harduett
  • Mrs. Mary Forbes
  • T. Hairston
  • George Bland, 22
  • Oscar Cowns
  • C. W. Case
  • Mrs. Mary Rhoads
Wrecked Houses Take Fire

The wrecked houses took fire, and the scene was soon thronged with people.  Timbers and empty powder cans were scattered over a large area.

The men were on the powder-laden cars and the women were in the houses nearby.  The powder was in tins, and was moved from a freight car to the magazine, when sparks from the motor wheels or current from the motor set it off.  The houses nearby were torn into splinters, and the detonation rocked the entire village.  In a few minutes hundreds had congregated and engaged in fighting the fire, which broke out as soon as the explosion occurred.  Some of the wounded were horribly burned, several of them lost their eyes, and the flesh hung in tatters from their bodies.

Note:  According to the web site of the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training, this explosion killed 4 employees and 2 individuals on the surface near the mine.

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