Johnstown, PA Mine Fan House Fire, Jul 1937

Man Killed, Three Injured In Fan Blaze

By United Press

JOHNSTOWN, July 8.--One man was dead and three others were in a hospital today as a result of a fire which destroyed the fan house at the Black Diamond mine of the Mineral Point Coal Company, seven miles east of here.

The dead man was John Cunningham, 60, a bachelor, who was suffocated when the burning an belched thick clouds of smoke and dust into the mine instead of fresh air. He was found unconscious about a mile inside the workings by rescue crews.

The three others were reported in "fairly good condition" at Memorial Hospital where they were removed. They are John Reed, Chalmer Yingling and Robert Battlebaugh.

About 30 men were at work in the mine when the fan house caught fire last yesterday. At the firs wisps of smoke spread through the underground passageways, those working near the entrance made their way to safety.

Cunningham and Alvin Trexler, 20, were at work fartherest from the sloping entrance. Trexler was unconscious when brought to the surface, but was revived a short time later.

James MacCullough, mine superintendent, was overcome by smoke when he went into the mine to direct rescue work. He was revived.

The fan building, a wooden structure, burned to the ground a short time after it caught fire. First reports said that the blaze set off an explosion inside the mine, but this was denied by company officials.

The Black Diamond mine normally employs about 50 men on one daily shift, officials said.

The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 8 Jul 1937