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Thursday, 31 Jan 1924
Terrific Blast Occurs in Barnes & Tucker Mine at Starford
SUPT. STONE KILLED
Many of the Bodies of Victims Were Badly Mangled by Force of the Explosion
Thirty-six miners were killed outright by a gas explosion in the Lancashire mine belonging to the Barnes & Tucker Coal Co. at Starford just across the line in Indiana county, at 3:30 o'clock, Saturday afternoon. There were forty-five men in the mine at the time, but the others were nearer the opening and managed to get out. Numbered among the dead was John Stone, superintendent of the mine, a former resident of Nanty Glo. Supt. Stone was a brother-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dyson of this place.
The horrible disaster occurred just before quitting time for the shift, Saturday afternoon. Fewer men than usual were working in the mine at the time or the death list would have been much more. All but a few of the victims were married men and leave families, 110 children being left fatherless.
As soon as the news of the explosion was flashed over the wires rescue teams and first-aid crews were rushed to the ill-fated village from Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona and other neighboring mining towns. The first-aid crews of the Heisley and Springfield mines of Nanty-Glo answered the call and drove across to render what assistance they could. The blast had been so terrific, however, that all of the entombed men had apparently been killed instantly, and all the rescuers could do was to search for the bodies and bring them to the surface, the last one being brought out Monday afternoon. The complete list of the dead, as given out by the secretary of Local No. 89 United Mine Workers of America, located at Starford, is as follows:
WALTER BROWN (Colored.)
GEORGE GETSEPP, SR
GEORGE GETSEPP, JR
ALBERT J. STOKER, foreman
Supt. JOHN STONE
This is the second mine disaster of the kind taking place in this vicinity in the past fifteen months. In the explosion of the Spangler mine in November, 1922, seventy-seven lives were lost. One pathetic story is told of a woman who lost her husband in the Spangler mine and afterwards remarried, her second companion being killed in this explosion. Joe Parkins, one of the victims at Starford, was a nephew of Archie Cook of Nanty-Glo and was known to many here.
John Rico of Starford was one of the heroes of the disaster. He was just nearing the mine to begin work on the nightshift when the explosion occurred. He rushed into the opening and kept going until he came to six men who had been partially overcome by the gas. He assisted them out of the death trap, having rescued them at the risk of his own life.