Renton, PA Union Collieries Mine Explosion, Jul 1920


Attempted Rescue Awaits Repairs to Relating Apparatus.

PITTSBURGH, July 19.—JOHN LUTEMAN, night foreman, two fire bosses, two pumpers and three laborers were entombed by an explosion in the mine of the Union Collieries Company, at Renton, eighteen miles from here, early today.

The explosion blew the cars out of the shaft, and as soon as repairs to the [illegible] apparatus can be made, rescue crews from the Pittsburgh station of the bureau of mines and similar crews from adjoining coal properties will endeavor to find the buried men.

The ventilation system of the mine, which is 513 feet deep, is operated by electricity furnished by a power company. Saturday afternoon it became necessary to make repairs to the plant, and the power was shut off.

At midnight Sunday, Foreman Luteman and the crew entered the mine to see that all was in readiness for operation this morning. It is not known how far they have gone into the workings, but at 3:30 o’clock a terrific explosion shook the entire neighborhood. The cage, by which the men had gone to the bottom of the shaft, was blown up to the surface and the machinery at the top of the tipple wrecked.

A crowd quickly gathered, but nothing could be done as there was no means of reaching the buried men. A rescue car and a full crew was ordered to Renton from the Pittsburgh station of the bureau of mines.

Arriving at the scene, the government men rigged up a bucket, and a small party was sent down the shaft. They have not decided whether they will prosecute.

The Kansas City Times, Kansas City, MO 19 Jul 1920



Bureau of mines Rescue Crew Enters Choked Shaft and Recovers One Victim.


(By Associated Press)
Pittsburgh, July 20.—The body of one of the nine men who were entombed yesterday by an explosion in a mine at Renton, eighteen miles from here, was recovered by the bureau of mines rescue crew early today. Hope of the rescue of the other eight was practically abandoned when the rescuers, after a trip through a section of the wrecked mine, said the force of theexplosion was general.

The body recovered this morning was burned and leaders of the rescue crew said they believed it would be impossible to establish the identity of the victim.

Members of the crew were forced to dig their way through a mass of debris and then make a passage through five mine cars which were wrecked near the bottom of the shaft. After a struggle of many hours the crew finally entered the mine level. Nearby the body was found. The crew than came to the surface, reported that further progress was impossible until theu had cleared a way through the level, and expressed the opinion that the eight missing men had been killed by the explosion.

The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN 20 Jul 1920


My great-Grandfather, Mike

My great-Grandfather, Mike Koste, a Slavic pumper was killed in this mine explosion on 7/19/1920 at the age of 39 leaving my grandmother, Helen, an orphan at the age of 12. She was cared for by her four brothers until she married. May he rest in peace.

gold pocket watch

i found a gold elgin pocket watch presented to d. corigan for first aid work, in connection to this disaster