Eccles Mine Disaster
*photo from www.eccleswv.com
Eccles, where the mine explosion occurred on April 28 1914, is in Raleigh County, WV about 4 miles from Beckley, the county seat, and is reached by the Virginian Railway or the Piney Branch of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. The coal mined is the New River semibituminous coking coal of the Pottsville series, and is considered to be the same as the Pocahontas smokeless coal.
The explosion happened around 2:30 p.m and took the lives of 180 men.
As the mine was quite busy on the day of the explosion, a number of loaded mine cars were standing at the shaft bottom and these were thrown by the blast into the hoisting shaft, making it difficult to clear away so as to get inside the mine. One cage was thrown up into the head-frame, where it lodged, not quiet reaching the sheave wheels, thus leaving the hoisting gear intact. The explosion doors of the 18' x 7' Jeffrey fan were blown off, but otherwise the fan was uninjured, and was stopped only so long as to fix the explosion doors and reverse the direction of the air-current. At 10 P.M. it was in working order. Soon after the explosion L.B. Holliday, mine inspector, of the 9th West Virginia District, arrived, and the rescue of the miners in No 6 was commenced and carried out effectively with the aid of Thomas Donaldson, mine superintendent. In the meantine, assistance was offered by miners from the company's nearby operations also from miners in the vicinity, and these Manager Bayles organized into rescue crews. He also organized a refreshment bureau where those who were working in the rescue parties could be fed.
For more information on Eccles, WV and the mine disaster, visit the Eccles, WV homepage