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Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company
South Wilkes-Barre Mine Explosives Detonation

South Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
December 9, 1902
No. Killed - 5

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Additional Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company Disasters:

Fatal Explosion in a Lehigh Mine at South Wilkes-Barre
Lock Haven Express, Pennsylvania
December 10, 1902

Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Dec. 10. -- Four men were killed and ten seriously injured, three probably fatally, by the explosion of a box of dynamite in No. 5 mine of the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company, at South Wilkes-Barre.

The names of the killed:
  • Robert Humblebee, carpenter, aged fifty-five, married
  • Arthur Jones, company hand, aged twenty-eight, single
  • Matthew Phillips, miner, aged thirty-six, married
  • James McGlynn, laborer, aged thirty-five, married
The fatally injured:
  • George Knorr
  • Charles Stafford
  • Thomas Evans
The most seriously injured:
  • Neil Sweeney
  • John Austin
  • Dominick Hart
  • James Peekems
The men had lowered into the shaft which is 110 feet deep, a box of dynamite weighing fifty pounds.  When the bottom of the shaft was reached, Phillips took the box off the carriage.  It slipped from his hands and fell to the ground.

The concussion exploded the dynamite, and the twenty men who were in the immediate vicinity getting their tools in readiness to go to their respective chambers were hurled in all directions.  The woodwork at the bottom of the shaft was also torn and scattered about.  As soon as possible word was sent to the surface, and a rescuing party was sent down.

The mine has the reputation of being the most gaseous in the entire region, and at first it was reported that the gas had exploded and that a score of miners had been killed outright.  Fortunately, however, the gas did not explode.  The dead and injured were brought to the surface as soon as possible.  Phillips was mangled almost beyond recognition.  McGlynn had his arms torn off.  The injured were wrapped in blankets and set to their homes.

Superintendent Morgan was early on the scene, and everything possible was done to alleviate the sufferings of the injured.  The accident caused the big colliery to suspend operations for the day.

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