Searights, PA Gas Explosion In Mine, July 1905

TORCH CAUSES DISASTER.

FIVE MEN KILLED BY EXPLOSION IN MINE SHAFT NEAR UNIONTOWN.

Connellsville, Pa., July 7. -- Five men were instantly killed and four injured in an explosion at the Taylor shaft of the Taylor Coal and Coke Co., half a mile from Searights, on the national pike, near Uniontown. Mine Inspector I. C. Roby of the Fifth district is unable to state whether the explosion was due to mine gas or a small tank of gasoline that was located at the head of the shaft where the men were working.
The dead are:
JOHN CARTER, colored.
WALTER WILLIAMS, colored.
SAMUEL DAVIS.
CHARLES SPATKA.
MICHAEL CHODNO.
GEORGE THOMAS, foreman, in charge of the work at the time of the explosion, is fatally injured.
The other injured are:
GABRIEL DIGGS.
GEORGE W. BETTS.
CASPAR EATON, colored.
The Taylor mine is down 94 feet. It is being sunk by Patterson & McNeil, a shaft sinking firm. The coal, which lies at a depth of 200 feet, has not been struck. The shaft, most of whom were killed, were working on a platform about 20 feet from the mouth of the shaft putting timbers up for a concrete wall. Several of the workmen were about the top of the shaft, while others were on the platform below. It is thought that one of the workmen above set fire to the gasoline with an open torch he was carrying.
The work of rescue was started within a few minutes after the explosion occurred. The rescuing party had a remarkable escape from death. They had gone to the bottom of the shaft for the last body and had the body securly fastened to the bottom of the temporary rigged bucket when the concrete wall and timbering about the top of the shaft tumbled down a distance of 70 feet. The timbers caught in such a manner over the top of the bucket as to save the men who were huddled in it from instant death. They were buried, however, by hundreds of tons of concrete and scaffolding. Enough crevices were left in the wreckage to supply them with air until they were rescued in half an hour.

Evening Record Greenville Pennsylvania 1905-07-07