Hellraisers Journal, Saturday December 7, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia – Explosion Followed by Fire at Nos. 6 & 8
From The Pittsburg Press of December 6, 1907:
The Grim News from Monongah:
By United Press.
Monongah, W. Va., December 6.-An explosion of dust in the Nos. 6 and 8 mines of the Fairmont Coal Co. here at half past ten o’clock this morning, resulted in the death of probably four hundred men.
At 2 o’clock this afternoon eight dead bodies were found near the entrance of No. 6 and had been taken out, but at that time dense volumes of smoke from a fire in the heart of the mine drove the rescuers to the open air and they have not since been able to return, although every effort is being made to get in.
The entombed miners are probably dead, unless by some miracle some should be found behind closed safety doors in distant parts of the two works. The mines are located on different sides of the river, but are connected by a shaft running under the river.
The explosion occurred first in No. 6 and 30 seconds later followed the shaft under the river to No. 8. The entrance to No. 8 is damaged so that rescue work may have to be carried on through No. 6, which, under present conditions, would prevent rescuing parties from reaching the men for several days.
Late this afternoon it was announced officially that there were nearly 400 men in the two mines.
The mine is now on fire and dense volumes of black smoke are pouring out of the main entrance, driving the rescuing parties out of the mine.
The fans are working hard to clear the shaft of smoke and foul air in the hope that rescuers may get in and find some alive, but they have very little expectation of succeeding. The cause of the fire or its extent is not known, but it makes the situation worse for all inside.
More than the 400 men were working in the shafts and levels of the two mines when the catastrophe occurred, but some are believed to have escaped alive before overtaken by the roaring flames and deadly gases generated by the explosion.
The full force of physicians from all the surrounding towns has been ordered to the scene, and prompt measures for the rescue of the entombed men have been undertaken. It is feared, however, that all, or nearly all, will be dead before they can be reached.
Scenes of grief and horror about the mines are heartrending. The first news of the disaster was given by the rumbling, shaking roar of the explosion, and the families of the trapped men seemed to realize instinctively what had happened. Bareheaded, crying and shrieking women ran pell-mell to the scene, and in a twinkling there was pandemonium all about the mines.
The women were impossible to control and it was only by the sheer force of manly strength, wielded by scores who gathered about, that the half-crazed wives, mothers, sisters and sweethearts were restrained from rushing madly into the smoking entrance to the fatal pits…..
Scenes at Monongah Mine, Wrecked by Explosion Today
Monongah Mining Disaster
United States Mine Rescue Association
Mine Disasters in the United States
Fairmont Coal Company, Monongah Nos. 6 and 8 Mines
Monongah, West Virginia – December 6, 1907
No. Killed – 362
Mining Disasters – An Exhibition
1907 Fairmont Coal Company Mining Disaster
Monongah, West Virginia
The Tragic Story of the Worst Industrial Accident in US History
-by J. Davitt McAteer
West Virginia University Press, 2007
Many deaths not counted, according to McAteer:
Nearly thirty years of exhaustive research have led McAteer to the conclusion that close to 500 men and boys–many of them immigrants–lost their lives that day, leaving hundreds of women widowed and more than one thousand children orphaned.
Tragedy at Monongah – Robert Wolfe
Made for West Virginia University.
West Virginia Mine Disaster – Jean Ritchie