The dangers and tragedies evidenced in the local coal mines grew exponentially as the number of mines increased.  Injuries and deaths from rock falls, explosions, etc., became frequent and common, as this explosion at Fleming evidenced.

The dangers and tragedies evidenced in the local coal mines grew exponentially as the number of mines increased.  Injuries and deaths from rock falls, explosions, etc., became frequent and common, as this explosion at Fleming evidenced.

“At 12:30 o’clock to-day a fearful explosion occurred at the coal shaft [Mine #3] of the Missouri Pacific mining company [Western Coal & Mining Co.] at the little mining town of Fleming, seven miles southwest of this city [Pittsburg].  The miners had fired their shots and all (it was thought) hoisted to the top.  Shortly after the firing of the shots a terrific explosion of powder gas occurred which blew out the cages and tore off part of the top house.  It was thought all the men were taken out, but it was found that it was a mistake.  Three dead bodies have been taken from the shaft.”

The three killed in this explosion were:  William Hunter, married, age 45; John Edwards, married with two children, age 26; and William Reed, single, age 23.

Source:  The Daily Headlight, Monday, 19 December 1887, Vol. 1, No. 213.