Plymouth, PA Coal Mine Gas Explosion, Sep 1898



Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Sept. 23. -- By the carelessness of a mine foreman an explosion of gas was caused in a Plymouth mine Thursday afternoon in which five men were killed and six injured.
The dead are:
D. M. JONES, aged 52, rock contractor, married.
WILLIAM JONES, aged 45, rock man, married.
JOHN FLANNIGAN, aged 45, mason, married.
WILLIAM P. JONES, aged 55, mason, married.
JOSHUA LIGHTLY, aged 55, assistant mining boss, married.
The three first named lived at Wilkes-Barre and the two others at Plymouth. All had large families. Six men were seriously injured.
The accident occurred in a colliery of the Lehigh & Wilkes-Barre Coal Company at Plymouth, 2 miles from this city, and was one of the most peculiar ever known in the anthracite region.
Two masons, FLANNIGAN and JONES, were building a high stone wall at one end of the 1,000-foot gangway in order to reverse and air current. D. M. JONES and WILLIAM JONES, rock contractors, were superintending the timbering of an air shaft 60 feet deep which was being sunk from the gangway to workings below. While these men were at work Assistant Mine Foreman LIGHTLY descended the main shaft to inspect the works. He had a naked lamp in his cap and passed along the gangways and down an inner slope on his way to the main gangway. He had not entered this more than 20 yards when his lamp ignited the gas and a terrific explosion occurred. The force of the explosion was so great that the rush of air tore down the high walls the masons were building, crushing FLANNIGAN and JONES to death. At the same time the workmen in the shaft were struck down by a mass of rock and timbers shaken from the sides by the force of the blast. D. M. JONES and WILLIAM JONES were both instantly killed and many of the rock men and laborers at work with them sustained more or less severe injuries. Foreman LIGHTLY'S body was hurled from side to side of the passage and burned and charred beyond recognition. LIGHTLY had been foreman for fifteen years and knew that the gangway was full of gas. The officials express surprise at his entering it with a naked light.

Oskaloosa Daily Evening Herald Iowa 1898-09-23