Boomer, WV Coal Mine Explosions, Nov 1915

DEATH TOLL IS TWENTY-THREE IN BOOMER MINE EXPLOSION.

ABOUT 300 IN MINE AT TIME OF DISASTER -- ESCAPE FROM DEATH WAS ALMOST MIRACULOUS IN TUESDAY'S HORROR -- THREE SEPARATE SHOCKS WITHIN ONE HOUR -- TOTAL NUMBER OF VICTIMS IN PAST 15 YEARS.

Montgomery, W. Va., -- Nov. 30. -- Fayette County was visited Tuesday by another fatal mine explosion, which occurred in mine No. 2 of the Boomer Coal & Coke Co., of Boomer, located on the north side of the Kanawha River a short distance from Montgomery. Some 300 men were in the mine at the time of the disaster, which occurred shortly before noon. The force of the explosion did not extend throughout the mine and consequently all the men escaped death except 23, according to the latest reports. It may be possible that the list, when the entire mine has been thoroughly explored, may be increased.
The cause of the disaster appears to be a mystery as the mine was inspectedd and reported upon by Deputy Mine Inspectors Cobb and Calderwood, November 16th and 17th, and passed as in good condition. However, the general impression is that a pocket of gas was ignited by an open lamp thus causing the explosion.
There were three separate explosions, two of which were not so disastrous. The first shock occurred at 10 o'clock, the second at 10:30 and the third and last at 11. Immediately following the news of the disaster, men rushed from all parts of the section to the scene to offer such assistance as could be rendered. The mines throughout the community were closed Wednesday and employer and employe repaired to Boomer.
The company officials, following a selfish and unfair custom on similar occasions, refused to give out information to the public but repeatedly denied that there was a loss of life for at least 24 hours after the occurrence, in fact until it became generally known from other sources.
The Boomer Coal & Coke Co. operates four mines at that point all of which are drift openings.
The identified dead whose bodies have been recovered to date are:
BOB YANCEY.
W. M. KINNEY.
SAM PARKINS.
FRANK ROWE.
A. B. HOWARD.
JOE PARTLOW.
CHRIS FARBER.
MIKE BONDER.
JOHN KROUSE.
CHRIS GOLINE.
DOMINICK VITRELLA, age 16.
SAM FORNER.
GEORGE FLEVENER.
LEE GALLOWAY.
NEAL PAULEY.
SAM DEMARCO.
FRANK J. ABOESKY.
SAM COLALO.
JOHN SULIER.
CARNEY COMINESKY.
JOE HARDESON.
ED HALL.
This is the third fatal mine explosion in Fayette County this year, totaling a death list of 151 men.
The mine disasters in Fayette and Raleigh Counties for the past fifteen years with the number of fatalities of each are given below:
Red Ash, March 1900 -- 51.
Rush Run, March 18, 1905 -- 24.
Parrall, Feb. 8, 1906 -- 26.
Stuart, Jan. 29, 1907 -- 86.
Whipple, May 1, 1907 -- 15.
New River Valley, March 1908 -- 9
Echo, March 1909 -- 5.
Eccles, April 28, 1914 -- 182.
Carlisle, Feb. 6, 1915 -- 21.
Layland, March 2, 1915 -- 114.
Boomer, Nov. 30, 1915 -- 23 (todate).
Total -- 556.
By nothing the above table, it will be seen that more than one-half thousand able-bodied men have been taken from our midst through the demon of explosions. How long will this continue? Will a cure ever be discovered and properly applied to protect the lives of these men who make their living through this industry?

Raleigh Herald Beckley West Virginia 1915-12-03

Comments

Frank Rowe

Frank Rowe was my grandfather. His son (my father) was 4 years old at the time of the accident.

His actual name was Francesco Rao. He was married to Angela Turelli Rao who name the son she was carrying at the time of Francesco's death Frank, after his father.

Dominick Vitrella

Dominick Vitrella is the incorrect name for the the young man that was killed in this explosion. His correct name is Dominick Petrella. He was a brother of my Grandfather that also worked int he West Virginia coal mines in the Kanawha and Fayette county areas.Their father John Petrella was also a coal miner in the area.