Scranton, PA Fairlawn Colliery Mine Fire, Aug 1886



The Fairlawn Colliery the Scene of a Painful and Shocking Accident -- The Mangled Bodies of the Victims Recovered by Brave Rescuers.

SCRANTON, Pa., Aug. 31. -- The Fairlawn colliery, situated a short distance from the heart of the city, was the scene of a thrilling disaster yesterday, by which five men were instantly killed and one so badly burned that his death is inevitable. The disaster was caused by the mine lamp of one of the workmen coming in contact with a large volume of gas that had accumulated in the lowest or third vein, 1,200 feet from the mouth of the slope. The effect of the explosion was terrific. The subterranean shock was felt with great force in the vicinity, it causing the earth to tremble violently, as if convulsed by an earthquake. Many persons seated at their tables were startled by the sudden commotion, which was accompanied by a loud report like a thunder clap, and they hastened from their homes in terror.

The force of the explosion was so great that large pieces of rock and coal were hurled from the mouth of the slope, while the timbers and iron rails leading down to the mine were torn from their fastenings and tossed about as if they were mere toys. The cause of this startling upheaval was at once divined by veteran miners, and in a few minutes hundreds of men, women and children were running in breathless anxiety and with pallid faces to the scene of terror, while the words, "It is an explosion of firedamp," were uttered by trembling lips.

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