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Mine Disasters in the United States


Susquehanna Coal Company
Susquehanna No. 7 Colliery Explosion

Nanticoke, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
August 6, 1906
No. Killed 6

(From the 1906 Pennsylvania Anthracite Dept. of Mines Annual Report)

An explosion of gas occurred in which Stanley Opawa, Polish, miner; Edward Malkovski, Polish, miner; Bartek Sheelka, Polish, laborer; Michael Robolinski, Polish, miner; Michael Mellitz, Slavonian, laborer; and Joseph Zelack, Polish, laborer, lost their lives.

The accident occurred about 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  The fire boss, in making his examination of this particular section in the morning, reported it as being free from gas.  He also visited this section on his second trip that day and still found it free from gas.

At an inquest held in Nanticoke, it appeared, from the testimony given, that Stanley Opawa, a miner, was engaged in driving a line chamber, and the other men, who were killed, were working within a radius of about 300 feet from his chamber when the explosion occurred.  It was further stated that Opawa drilled a hole in the face of his chamber, charged it with dynamite, connected his battery, which stood about 100 feet from the face of the chamber, notified those in the immediate vicinity of his intention to fire, and then pulled the battery discharging the blast.  It in turn ignited a body of gas which had accumulated at the face of his chamber, fatally burning him and the five other men.


A Serious Gas Explosion in Nanticoke Mine
Titusville Herald, Pennsylvania
August 7, 1906

Wilkes-Barre, Aug. 6. -- An explosion of gas occurred this afternoon in the old No. 1 shaft at Nanticoke, operated by the Susquehanna Coal company.

As a direct result of the accident six men and one boy, all Polish, were injured or burned, four of whom are not expected to recover.

The explosion was caused by a miner with a naked lamp coming in contact with a feeder of gas which he ignited while in the act of blasting.

There were nearly 100 men in the main gangway at the time, but they fortunately escaped.  Many of them were knocked down by the force of the explosion, but none was seriously injured, aside from the seven who were near the point where the gas was set off.  Frank Laman, a door boy, crawled along the rails in the mine and made his way through the doors and gave the alarm to one of the mine bosses.  It took some time to reach the men and rescue them.

The mine was on fire for a short time and while many of the men fought the fire with hose and water, others carried their comrades to a place of safety.  On bringing them to the surface, the ambulances were on hand.  Some were removed to their homes, while others were sent to the nearest hospital.




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