SIBLEY BREAKER AND OUTBUILDINGS BURNED,
IMPERILING MAY LIVES
One Hundred and Fifty Men Rescued From Smoke
Filled Shaft – Thrilling Escape of Three Men by a Rope.
Seven Hundred Men and Boys Are Thrown Out of
More than seven hundred men and boys have been
thrown out of employment in Old Forge as the result of the
destruction by fire of the Sibley breaker, operated by Elliot
McClure & Co. at 10:30 o’clock yesterday morning.
The breaker stood over the mouth of the shaft.
At first it was greatly feared that about one hundred and fifty
men, who were working in the lower veins, would be suffocated by
the smoke which was drawn down the shaft in dense clouds. At 1:30
o’clock yesterday afternoon when Mine Inspector H. D. Johnson and
Superintendent R. Willis Reese of the colliery made a tour of the
working, it was found that every man had escaped.
There were three miners, however, who were in
considerable peril for a time and their exit was dramatic. They
were working in the fourth vein, the bottom one of the mine, which
was recently opened. There were no means of escape for them except
by the shaft, which was covered with the burning breaker.
Unable to send the mine cage to the bottom
vein, the rescuers were at a loss for a time to find a way of
reaching the three miners. But a happy thought came to one of the
outside men. They entered the mine through the slope, about a
quarter of a mile, and dropped a long rope down the shaft to the
In this manner the men were lifted to safety,
through the smoke which partly choked the shaft. All the others
easily escaped by the slope.
It is understood that the fire started in the
engine room. Exactly what caused it is unknown, and it had much
headway before it was discovered. It swept up the airway to the
top of the breaker and enveloped the structure in a few minutes.
As soon as the fire was discovered, Outside
Foreman Cook had the air current reversed, thus preventing the
greater part of the smoke from being swept into the workings.
Engine companies Nos. 1 and 2 of Taylor, and the Old Forge hose
company responded in double quick to the alarm, but they were
unable to save the breaker, which was totally destroyed.
The washery which stood near the breaker was
also burned to the ground. The fire companies, however, succeeded
in saving several dwelling houses, the roofs of which caught fire
from the flying sparks. By noon the conflagration had practically
spent its force. For a time the mules were abandoned, but in the
afternoon they were brought to the surface.
Hundred of women and children surrounded the
burning breaker during the morning expressing great fear for the
safety of husbands and fathers and brothers. There was much
rejoicing, however, when it was learned that all had escaped.
This is the second time the breaker has been
destroyed by fire. It was first built in 1873. It burned down on
Feb. 5, 1888. The rebuilding was begun without delay and it has
been in operation since. It is said that from some new veins
discovered recently, there is enough coal in the tract for the
next forty years. At one time it was thought the end of the
workable coal was in sight. The loss is hard to state exactly, but
it is estimated at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Judge McClure of Lewisburg is one of the
principal owners of the colliery. His father was one of the
From: the Scranton Public Library, Filmstrip,
Scranton Republican – June 24, 1906 Page 5, by Carl Orechovsky
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Constructed by A. B. Tyrell Co. July
Second colliery that was built on the
Located off Keyser Ave, Old Forge,
Owned by Elliott McClure & Co.
Mined 1,049,354 TONS COAL
Destroyed by fire June 23, 1906
13 miners lost their lives between
Photo property of Eagle McClure Hose
Colliery 1906- 1916