Wyoming, PA Fatal Mine Fire, May 1908

FIRE FIGHTERS KILLED.

SEVEN MEN MEET DEATH FIGHTING BLAZE IN MINE.

THEY LET AIR INTO GANGWAY TO ALLOW GAS TO ESCAPE, WHEN AN EXPLOSION TOOK PLACE -- GREAT EXCITEMENT ABOUT MINE.

Wilkes-Barre, Pa., May 13. -- The historic town of Wyoming was thrown into a state of excitement when word came from the Mt. Lookout colliery, operated by the Temple Coal and Iron company, that an explosion of gas had occurred and that many miners and laborers had been killed. Thousands of people flocked to the mine and the state constabulary, who have their barracks near there, had all they could do to keep the crowd away from the mouth of the shaft. From what could be learned at the mine during the excitement, was that a miner named JOHN KOSMITH left a small "gas feeder" burn in the extreme end of a gangway, 1800 feet away from the shaft and 600 feet under the ground, all of Monday night, which during the night or the early morning set fire to the timbers and the coal. When the fire boss started into the mine to make his rounds he discovered a fire. He at once reported it, and with three men he tried to subdue the flames, but they met with gas while trying to do so. Shortly after a slight explosion took place burning the four men but not seriously injuring them. They then came out of the mine and the inside foreman summoned a gang of men together and went into the mine to put out the fire.
They then let air in from another gangway to allow the gas to escape and while doing so a second explosion took place, and seven men, all miners and laborers, were instantly killed and five others burned upon the hands and face.
The killed are:
PASCAL SMITH, married with a family.
FRANK SMITH.
MICHAEL McNULTY.
OSCAR SMALLCOMB, married, with family.
GEORGE METCALF, married, with family.
LEWIS PATASKAY, married.
JOSEPH YANCANDEN, married.
The injured:
JOHN WELSH.
WILLIAM COFSTOLO.
HENRY LEARCH.
JOHN PATASKAY.
CHARLES BABCOCK.
All those injured live in the neighborhood of the colliery. All were burned upon face and hands.
A rescue party was formed and they were at once sent into the mine to get the men out. The dead men were all identified by the foreman.
Several of the rescue party were overcome by gas and had to be taken from the mine in a semi-conscious condition.

Tyrone Daily Herald Pennsylvania 1908-05-14