Windber, PA Boarding House Powder Keg Explosion, Jan 1903


Berwind-White Miners Victims of Serious Disaster


Attempt to Dry Explosive and Spark From Pipe Both Given

JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Jan. 16—Six men were probably fatally burned by the explosion of four kegs of powder in their boarding house in Windber tonight. Physicians say they have some hopes of two of them pulling through, but they have no hopes of the recovery of the other four. The injured men are:

Metro Felerick, aged 24, horribly burned about body; Frank Fresak, aged 25, horribly burned over entire body; John Modis, aged 24, badly burned over entire body; John Chupa, aged 30, badly burned over entire body; Stasco Chupa, aged 26, horrible burns over entire body; Meeklash Soumeba, aged 29, bad burns of head, body and back.

The men were employed as miners by the Berwind-White Company and kept their powder at their boarding house. They were in the room in which four kegs of powder sat, and it is said that one of them was trying to dry the explosive when the stuff let go. Another story is that one of the men was smoking a pipe when a spark caused the explosion. None of the victims have been able to speak since the accident. The whole side of the building was blown out, the weather-boarding hanging in a manner that made it look like a partly opened store box. The building took fire, but was quickly extinguished.

Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 17 Jan 1903


JOHNSTOWN—John Modes, another of the foreigners burned by the Windber explosion Friday night, is dead. This makes three fatalities, and the other three can hardly recover.

Wilkes-Barre Times, Wilkes-Barre, PA 24 Jan 1903