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Delaware and Hudson Company
Von Storch Mine Fire

Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
October 30, 1897
No. Killed - 6

October 30th is Mine Rescue Day
Successful Rescue

October 30, 1897 - Joseph Yomaski, one of the men entombed in the Von Storch Mine of the Delaware and Hudson Company, was rescued at 10 o'clock Saturday night.  The bodies of the other men were afterwards found and brought to the surface.  In an interview, the Pole explained that when his companions began to suffer their death agonies, he at once urged them to follow him, but they refused.  He escaped to an old airway where he knew of a hand fan, over which he placed a box, and in that inserted his head.  He then kept the fan going for ten hours and kept himself alive until rescued.

Suffocated in a Coal Mine
Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Indiana
November 1, 1897

Scranton, Pa., Nov. 1. -- The most fatal mine disaster in the Lackawanna, or Wyoming coal fields since the Twin Shaft horror at Pittston over a year ago was developed in the fire which gutted the River Slope of the Delaware and Hudson Company's Von Storch mine in this city Saturday.  Six men were suffocated by smoke, and one other, a Polander, was numbered among the dead for a while.

The dead are:
  • Thomas Hill, boss
  • John Farrell, company man
  • John Francis Moran, driver
  • Michael Walsh, laborer
  • John McDonnell, miner
  • Thomas Padden
The missing men were at work in the deck and surface veins, the former 100 and the latter sixty feet from the surface.  They had but two avenues of escape.  The shorter route was by way of the slope, which was a sea of flames, and the other route was via cross-cuts to gangways which lead to an air shaft nearly a mile from the spot where the men were working.

Fire kept them out of the slope, and the smoke which backed into all the workings prevented escape through the cross-cuts.  Miners and city firemen in their efforts to fight the fire in the slope were handicapped by several extensive falls of roof, caused by the burning of the timbers, and by the fear of forcing the air current downward instead of upward.  The workers were threatened by falls of roof and the "squeezing" of the walls.

Chief Hickey, of the Scranton fire department, and eight firemen narrowly escaped death.  They were driving the smoke before them by the use of water from a big spray nozzle when the air current was changed at the shaft and the smoke enveloped the party.  They groped their way 200 feet to the opening and collapsed in the open air.

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