Barrackville, WV Coal Mine Fire, May 1935

MINE SHAFT FIRE KILLS FIVE MEN.

FLAMES SHOOT 500 FEET IN AIR IN WEST VIRGINIA CONFLAGRATION.

Fairmont, W. Va., May 12 (AP) -- Five men were burned to death by steam and six others injured, one of the critically, in a spectacular mine shaft fire that shot flames 500 feet into the air at the Bethlehem Mine corporation's No. 41 shaft at nearby Barracksville [sic] early today.
The mine was idle today, but one pumper was operating in the 300-foot shaft to free it of water.
The fire broke out about midnight, and a group of men were sent into the pit to battle the flames.
An electric fan was shut off, and the air current in the shaft forced the flames almost 500 feet into the air, investigators said. The group of men, working with hose to extinguish the flames, were burned by hot steam from the streams of water forced back upon them as the walls of the shaft collapsed.
L. A. HOWELL, 50, a mine inspector for the Bethlehem corporation and widely known in West Virginia for his mine safety work, was among those fatally burned. HOWELL came to this state from Wales, where the was decorated by the British government for his mine safety activities.
The other dead are:
TERRY WELTY, 40, a section boss.
D. W. JONES, 28, assistant safety director.
HARRY WEST, 30, a timberman.
JAY WELLS, 50, pumper.
All leave families. They died shortly after reaching a hospital. HOWELL lived for several hours after he was taken to the hospital.

Salt Lake Tribune Utah 1935-05-13