Plymouth, PA Avondale Mine Disaster, Sept 1869 - Horrible Disaster


Two Hundred Miners Perish in a Pennsylvania Coal Mine.

Plymouth, Sept. 6.-- A fire broke out this morning in the flue and bottom of the Steuben Shaft, owned by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Company, in this place, and in a short time the whole breaker and outbuildings were in flames, and the hoisting apparatus, the only avenue of escape for the miners, destroyed. All efforts to stay the flames proved unavailable, and the whole structure fell, filling up the shaft. Over 200 men are in the shaft and have no communication out, with no chance for air, as the only way for getting air into the shaft was through the main opening, and that was filled with burning timbers and debris. It is feared the whole number have been suffocated by smoke, or perished for want of air. The fire departments of Scranton, Wilkesbarre and Kingston are playing streams down the shaft for the purpose of quenching the fire. There is so much rubbish to be cleared out that it will probably take till to-morrow morning before tidings can be received from the men. The scene is heartrending. Families are congregated in great numbers. Miners from all parts of the country are there at work, and merchants, and in fact the whole population of the town have turned out to assist. The loss by fire will amount to about $100,000; partially covered by insurance. All the physicians of the vicinity have been summoned to attend, when the condition of the men is ascertained. The affair has cast a gloom over the whole community, and business almost entirely suspended. The miners only resumed work to-day, after a suspension of about three months. Among the men in the mine is MR. HUGHES, the Superintendent.

Scranton, Sep. 6, 10 p. m. -- The latest information from the Avondale mine states that the shaft was cleared, and that two men went down and penetrated sixty or seventy yards to a closed gangway door, which they could not force open. They found three dead mules outside the door, and sulphurous fumes were pouring out through the door. No signs of life were discovered, and it is feared all are dead.

Plymouth, Pa., Sept. 6, 10 p. m.-- After the rubbish from the bottom of the shaft was cleared away, two miners descended in a bucket, and sent up word to send down a pick and shovel to clear the doors with. The bucket was brought up and two men started down with the tools. As they started, the men at the bottom requested them to hurry, and on their reaching the bottom both were found dead. No hopes are entertained for the men in the shaft; all are supposed to have perished. The black damp is very bad there.

The Janesville Gazette Wisconsin 1869-09-07