Everettsville, WV Devestating Mine Explosion, Apr 1927

NINETY-ONE THOUGHT DEAD IN EVERETTSVILLE MINE BLASTS; EIGHTY MEN STILL ENTOMBED.

BODIES OF EIGHT MEN REMOVED FROM MINE AT MIDNIGHT; RESCUE CREWS REPORT CONDITIONS IN MINE SO THAT NONE OF IMPRISONED MEN CAN BE ALIVE; CAUSE OF EXPLOSION UNKNOWN.

Fairmont, April 30. -- Ninety-one men are believed to have lost their lives in a terrific explosion of unknown origin which occurred at 3:27 this afternoon in the Everettsville mine of the New England Fuel and Transportation company about 12 miles north of this city. Eleven are know to be dead, eight bodies having been removed from the mine at midnight, two being killed on the tipple outside the mine and one having died in a local hospital tonight. Eighty men remain in the mine but rescue crews report conditions such that none of them can be alive.
Shortly after the blast MANUEL PORTPO, walked out of the mine saying he had walked through a dense smoke but was unhurt. He then led rescue workers into the mine and brought out nine other men alive and unhurt and the first body. The seven other bodies were brought out at intervals up to midnight.
Killed On Tipple.
In the local hospital, HAROLD DAVIS, 18 of this city died at 8:45 o'clock. He was a check weighman on the tipple and in his office at the time of the blast. The great sheet of flame blew off the front of the office, nearly decapitated one of DAVIS' arms and literally cooked him.
Injured in local hospitals are VIRGIL STRAIGHT, 23, Lowesville, fractured skull, not expected to live; TOM DAUGHERTY, 50, Lowesville, fractured skull and burns over body, not expected to live; CAM FRAZER, negro, 45, lacerations and burns, right leg broken, condition critical; JOE ABBISH, 48, Polish, residence unknown, powder burns over entire body, expected to live; ROY RAYHURST, 28, Georgetown, burned on back and shoulder dislocated, expected to live; HAROLD WILMOTH, 29, Everettsville, burned about body, expected to live; BROWN WILMOTH 18, Everettsville, seared about body, expedted to live.
Lights Restored.
Before nightfall tonight electricians had succeeded in restoring electric lines and the scene was well lighted. It was a quiet, almost untroubled scene. There were the usual triade of curious persons just outside the small roped off area around the mine mouth, which gaps grom the side of a steep hill on one side of the deep ravine.
Little groups of dry-eyes women watched the nerve racking, mechenical entrance and exit of the rescue workers who enter for a shift and return a few hours later. They are the mothers, wives and sisters of the doomed men. They are not crying or wailling as is the case often at mine explosions. It is the quietest mine explosion scene ever seen in this region.
Negro Escapes.
Just before the explosion this afternoon a negro came out of the mine driving a horse. His name could not be learned but witnesses say he gave a warning. He shouted that the mine was full of smoke. And then came the roar and flash of flame. The negro was clear of the mine mouth and escaped. He could not be found tonight.
The flames set fire to the tipple and this blaze was extinguished by the Morgantown fire department which reached the scene soon after the blast.
There is no debris about the mouth of the mine and word if not for the fire-scarred tipple and the crowd, the mine would appear to be operating as if nothing had happened. All the machinery is working in good order. The ventilating system is in operation all the fans functioning. If any of the men are alive in the mine, they are now getting a good supply of air. But the mine inspectors shake their heads knowingly. They feel that no man is now alive in the mine.
None Identified.
No attempt is being made at present to identify the bodies as they are brought out of the workings. They are given tags with numbers on them and the sordid work of identification will be taken up later.
The names of these men who are known to have been in the mine at the time of the explosion number 96 and are as follows:
IRVIN MALLORY; WILL HUNTER; BILL MURDOCK; ROWLAND BURTON; COMMODORE BURTON; NICK PERTNOBUH; ED ALSTON; WILLIAM BURKS; JOHN BATCHA; BROOKS WILLIAMS; ROSCOE HOOPER; BERNARD TIPPIN; NOAH MONTGOMERY; M. FRAZIER; THOMAS LAMB; STEWART NAPPER; WILLIAM REESE; JIM TAYLOR; T. J. BLACKMAN; BART LAMB; FRANK GOODWIN; FRANK WARE; RALPH WRIGHT; PORTER ZIMMAN; RICHARD SMITH; AL D. BURRELL; CICERO CAMPBELL; SAM LITTLE; ROBERT PETUS; TOM WEATHERBY; PAUL FLETCHER; HARRY WILLIAMS; FRANKLIN BURGESS; MOSES HODGES; AARON BARNES; TONY CAMPANELLI; CHARLES H. BROWN; JEROME T. PYLES; TROY JACKSON; J. M. PENNINGTON; E. C. COLEMAN; ED BROOKS; BRYON SHOAF; EARL ERSKINE; WADE WILSON; WILLIAM ERSKINE; HARRY COHEN; THOMAS SHORTS; LINK DAVENPORT, JR.; ERNEST. E. SMITH; ANDY PERTONOBUH; BEN BLACKMAN, JR.; JOE GELLEIS; SAM REYNOLDS, JR.; CASTO NICHOLS; LINK DAVENPORT, SR.; JOHN PARKER; JASPER D. TOOTHMAN; CLAYTON CARTER; GEORGE W. ANDERSON; CHARLES DRAKE; PAT BRENNAN, JR.; CHARLES MORRISON; CHARLES TOWNSEND; RUFUS FIELDS; MARTIN STONE; FRANK FOLEY; JOHN HILL; LEWIS MURPHY; A. W. VARNER; FRANK SYLVA; DENZIL MORRISON; CARL B. McCARTY; EDWARD ALLEN; HARVEY McKAY; FRANK MAGA; HENRY S. SAUNDERS; CECIL ERSKINE; PETE ROCOVICH, JR.; CARL L. QUEEN; IRVIN MAXWELL; FRED LAURA; ROY DAVIS; TIMOTHY H. SULLIVAN; WILBERT UNDERWOOD; JOHN L. ANDERSON; RICHARD JONES; SAM FLANAGAN; LAWRENCE NAIRNE; CHARLES A. WILLARD; WM. D. BUZZARD; JAS. B. MURPHY; JESSE STREETY; MATEO ALONZO.
Of these 978 men 10 came out alive and unhurt, eight bodies have been brought out, leaving 80 in the mine all believed dead.

Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1927-05-01

Comments

My husband's Grandfather,

My husband's Grandfather, Alva R. Varner, was never recovered from the Everettsville explosion in April of 1927. As an aside, my Uncle Edwin A. Tennant, one of my father's younger brothers, was never recovered from the Farmington mine explosion in 1968, my uncle was married to one of Alva's grand-daughters. Something that we can never forget.

Mining accident

Thank you my grandfather and uncle died in that accident