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THE JOHNSTOWN TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT
JOHNSTOWN, PA
1964

10 Jul 1964
Submitted by Lynne Canterbury

MINE BLAST HERE

1902 TRAGEDY CLAIMED 113

"An explosion of gas in the Rolling Mill Mine just before noon to-day entombed from 75 to 100 men, and the mine foreman and four assistants who went to investigate the result of the accident lost their lives in the attempt to reach the place."

That paragraph in the old Tribune heralded to the world one of Johnstown's worst disasters on this day 62 years ago.

Reports from the scene of the tragedy still vere sketchy when the evening paper hit the streets. The mine foreman mentioned and other, the number of unknown, escaped or were rescued from the underground workings.

DEATH TOLL 113

Narrow escapes from death were common. Several heroic rescue attempts also were recorded after the blast occurred in the old Cambria Steel Co. mine's sixth right heading in a section known to miners as "The Klondike," about 2 miles from the entrance.

On July 12, 1902, St. Casimir's Catholic Church, Cambria City, held Funeral Mass for most of the 58 members who perished in the disaster. The last of annuel Requiem Masses was held on July 10, 1962, the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.

CLOSED IN 1931

Rolling Mill Mine was closed in 1931 as Mine 71 of Bethlehem Mines Corp. For some time prior to its closing, the mine's coal came out through the shaft of Rosedale Mine 72.

The tragedy, however, has not been closed out of the memories of some of the area's oldtimers, from the mines and elsewhere. And safety is more and more the theme, in and out of the mines.


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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors