Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brian is on "Suite" again. This time, it is the Coal Mine Disaster in Monongah, West Virginia in 1907.

The recent terrible tragedy which took place in Montcoal, West Virginia brings to mind a similar, but even greater tragedy which shook the mining community to it's foundations in 1907 --

“I was out on the loaded track and was looking toward the mouth of number 8 and the first thing I knew I saw timbers and everything flying through the air…. followed by black smoke. It seemed to me the smoke was afire. It seemed to me it was a short distance in the air, maybe fifty or sixty feet.”

This was the memory of Carl Meredith, a Foreman on the the Fairmont Mine in West Virginia of the worst mining disaster in American history which happened at Monongah, West Virginia on December 6, 1907. Around 10:30 in the morning after a full contingent of 380 workers, both men and boys had begun their shift, mines no. 6 and 8 of the Fairmont Consolidated Coal Mine were blasted by the force of an underground explosion. A miner had been operating a trainload of coal cars up the shaft of the processing plant when a coupling broke lose, and sent the coal cars crashing back down the sloping mine. The lose cars crashed into a wall, cutting electrical cables which then ignited the dust cloud which had been raised by the crash, it was firmly asserted, and this resulted in an explosion so vast and so powerful that it ruptured almost every ceiling and wall in the mine, instantly killing the miners working below.

What exactly was it that caused such a huge loss of life on that tragic day little more than a century ago? Click on the website below and read all about it.

Read more at Suite101: The 1907 Monongah, West Virginia Mine Disaster.


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