Clarksburg, WV Coal Mine Fire, Oct 1965


Clarksburg, W. Va., (UPI) -- Six miners trapped deep underground when fires broke out in a soft coal mine near here late Saturday night wree found dead today. A seventh man was brought out alive last night but died a few minutes later.
"I don't believe it. I don't believe it, I have to stay here and see for myself," cried the wife of CLELL LEEDY, 53, when rescue workers brought word thay had found the last four bodies -- those of LEEDY and three miners huddled together in an area behind one of the fire areas. The miners had died of suffocation.
It was a heartbreaking end to a 30-hour rescue effort. It came only a short time after rescuers found signs which spurred hopes the last four might be alive.
The four bodies were found about five hours after rescue workers recovered the bodies of the two other men.
The seven men were trapped at about midnight (EDT) Saturday when fires broke out in four separate passages of the Clinchfield Coal Co.'s Mars No. 2 mine.
The fires were triggered by short circuit caused when an electrical cable was cut by a "continuous miner," a large machine which digs out coal and moves it into cars on a conveyor.
Workers inched their way deep inside the fire-ravaged mine tunnels for nearly 20 hours before coming upon CHARLES LANTZ, 26, of Buckhannon.
He was brought out alive but died of his injuries en route to a hospital.
Early today rescue workers found the bodies of CARL BANISH, 45, of Lost Creek, father of 10 children, and KENNETH KERR, 53, of Belington, father of three.
Then the rescue crew, headed by Andrew Spotte, vice president of the Clinchfield Company, found signs which raised their hopes for the four other men.
But less than an hour later rescuers came upon the four bodies huddled in a chamber behind the last fire area, near the extremity of a tunnel two and one-half miles from the mine entrance.
The four were LEEDY, of Bluefield, who was the foreman of the lost crew; ANDY KURUSCZ, 44, of Galloway; ISAAC MOATS, 39, of Moatsville, and ROBERT SAVAGE, 57, of Rosemont.

Statesville Record and Landmark North Carolina 1965-10-18