100 Years Ago Today - March 26, 1912
One hundred years ago today, according to The Washington Times, dated 26 March 1912, Washington, DC, "Eighty-Three Men Entombed In Mine In West Virginia." As the story reads there was explosion of gas in Jed Shaft Shuts Off Escape.
Welch, W. Va., March 26 (1912) -- "Eighty-three men are entombed in the mine of the Untied States Coal and Coke Company at Jed, three miles from here. An explosion of gas occurred in the mine at 7:30 this morning. Eighty-six men were then at work. Only three of the number were able to each the outside. Two rescue cars under the United States Bureau of Mines were ordered to Jed as soon as disaster was reported, one coming from St. Paul. Va., and the others from Pittsburgh, Pa.
Rescue Work Difficult
Following the explosion, after-damp pervaded the entire workings, and it was impossible for any immediate rescue work to be begun. Deputy State Mine Inspector Mitchell arrived from Bluefields an hour after the explosion occurred. Because of the deadly after-damp, in which no human being can live an instant, it was impossible for the would-be rescuers to get farther than a few hundred feet from the opening.
The Jed mine worked day and night shifts, employing in all about 150 men. It was a shaft mine, and had been operated on a non-union basis. The 150 employees with their families comprised practically the entire population of the town of Jed. When the news of the explosion spread women and children gathered at the mouth of the mine terror-stricken. Nearly all of the men in the mine were married. Their families refused to leave the shaft, hysterically urging the rescue party to greater efforts.
Nothing To Indicate Fire
It is not thought that any part of the workings is on fire. Some smoke and fume issued from the mine opening immediately after the explosion, but now that this has disappeared there is nothing to indicate flames inside. The men had been in the mine less than an hour when the explosion occurred. This would hardly have allowed all of them to reach their working places. Miners said that those men who had reached their pockets had the best chance of escaping death from the explosion.
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