Fairmont, WV Monongah Mine Explosion, May 1895


Disastrous Powder Explosion In a Mine Near Fairmont, W. Va.

WHEELING, May 22. - The first reports of a disastrous explosion at the Monongah mine near Fairmont yesterday were widely exaggerated and a number of very sensational stories have been sent out over the country. The exact facts are as follows:

At 12:30 o'clock in the afternoon a Pole carelessly ignited a can of powder in mine No. 4 of the Monongah Coal and Coke company and a terrific explosion followed. The accident occurred in the main air course leading to mine No. 2, about 500 feet from the mouth of mine No. 4, and the smoke was thus driven through different parts of the mine suffocating four miners. Quite a number of others were seriously but not fatally affected by the smoke. The names of the dead are:

C. L. BERTCHER, an old man who leaves a large family.

The last two are foreigners.

Mine inspector D. M. Barr is on the ground an [sic] is making an investigation. An inquest is being held today. The Monongah mines are the principal works in the upper Monongahola coal field, and the company is headed by ex-United States Senator Camden.

Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, IN 23 May 1895