Powellton, WV Locomotive Explosion, Dec 1934

McDunn WV Locomotive Explosion 12-27.jpg

15 COAL MINERS REPORTED KILLED IN BOILER BLAST.

NEARLY ALL ARE SCALDED TO DEATH BY LIVE STEAM FROM LOCOMOTIVE.

TWENTY OTHERS BADLY INJURED AND RUSHED TO W. VA. HOSPITAL.

Pittsburgh, Dec. 27 -- (UP) -- The Koppers Coal Company office here said today that
"approximately 15" of its men were killed and 20 injured when the locomotive of a miners work train exploded at Powellton, W. Va.
The company, advised of the explosion by offices of its subsidiary, the Elkhorn Piney Coal Mining Company, said the locomotive was drawing four coaches when the explosion occurred.
Cause of the accident was not determined, the company said, but an investigation was started.
All the victims were employed by the Elkhorn Piney Company, three and one-half miles from Powellton.

Powellton, W. Va., Dec. 27 -- (UP) -- The locomotive of a miners' work train exploded today, killing at least 15 miners. Twenty were injured.
The locomotive was hauling a four-coach train to Mine No. 5 of the Koppers Coal Company where the miners worked.
Between 75 and 100 workmen were on the train.
Terrific force of the blast killed some. Others were scalded to death as live steam roared into the coaches.
The injured were removed to Coal Valley Hospital, at Montgomery.
One died there. Several others were expected not to live.
"Most of them are suffering from burns and lacerations," a hospital attendant said. "A few have compound fractures. We have not yet been able to make an exact survey."
The train makes daily runs from Powellton, Montgomery and other villages in this mining community.
The blast occurred at 6:30 a.m. Within an hour anxious wives, relatives and friends were on the scene.
From here they went to the hospital where the confusion became so great that physicians were hampered in administering to the injured.
The work special was an element in the social life of the miners. They usually were spirited, exchanged stories and bits of small talk, and discussed their work as they rode to the mines. The evening ride was that of weary men relaxed from their labors.
The ribaldry of the holiday spirit was abroad today when the "run to the mine" started.
Then, one mile from the mine, there was a roar, followed by screams and groans. Bits of the coaches were hurled for many yards as the explosion ripped through its timbers.
Some of those in front seats were decapitated.

Chester Times Pennsylvania 1934-12-27

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