Pocahontas, WV Eight Perish In Coal Mine, Nov 1901

EIGHT GO TO DEATH.

PROMINENT MINING MEN GO ON AN EXPLORING TOUR AND ARE NO MORE.

THEY DIE IN THE GLOOM OF THE PIT.

BLACK DAMP OVERWHELMS THEM FROM THE BABY MINE, WHICH NOW BLAZES FURIOUSLY.

Bluefields, W. Va., Nov. 23. -- At 11 a.m. yesterday Superintendent WALTER O'MALLEY, of the Pocahontas Collieries Company; State Mine Inspector WILLIAM PRIEST; A. S. HURST, chief coal inspector for the Castnor, Curran & Bullitt Company, of Philadelphia; ROBERT ST. CLAIR, chief coal inspector; MORRIS ST. CLAIR and WILLIAM OLDHAM, substitute coal inspectors; FRAZIER G. BELL, mining engineer, and JOSEPH VARDWELL, manager of the Shamokin Coal and Coke Company, of Maybury, W. Va., composing a party of eight, entered the west main of the Southwest Virginia Improvement company's collieries for the purpose of examining the true situation in regard to the recent explosion and fire in the Baby mine, and up to this writing have not been heard from.
It was supposed that the Baby mine proper had been cut off from the west mine for the purpose of operating that mine. The large fan in the west mine for the purpose of operating that mine. The large fan in the west mine had been started at an early hour in the morning, and at 11 a.m. yesterday it was thought that all gases originating from the fire in the Baby mine had been forced from the main portion, and it was considered safe to enter. At 6 p.m. a party consisting of experienced miners, led by Assistant Superintendent KING, entered the mine to rescue the lost party of eight, but at 6:45 they returned, having encountered such quantities of black damp as to make it impossible to enter any distance into the mine. Assistant Superintendent KING was completely overcome by the gas encountered and is now in a critical condition.
The different mining experts from the Flat Top field were rushed to Pocahontas by a special train and all efforts are being used to recover the bodies of the inspecting party, but no hopes are entertained that any of them will be recovered alive. The secretary and treasurer of the Southwest Virginia Improvement company, C. S. Thorne, of Philadelphia, is directly in charge of all movements at the mines. The fire that originally started in the Baby mine a week ago last Thursday, and which was supposed to have been under control, is now burning furiously. All the members of the lost party are prominent in the coal field, and the excitement prevailing is intense, business having practically suspended. All the members of the party are married, some having large families.

Logansport Pharos-Tribune Indiana 1901-11-23