So many Coal Mine Disasters that left behind many unanswered questions as to how they started and how many victims their really where ?

 As I travel the back roads of Pa. and W.Va I often come across old coal mine workings and all too often memorials to miners who lost their lives. Including across the valley from me in Harmar Twp where over 100 men lost their lives and inspired the Carnegie Heroes Medal

 But now that its  December  it seems was always the worst time to be the wife of a coal miner it seemed the holidays brought with it a Coal Mine Disaster when Black damp  a gas  would build up in tunnels and one spark was all it took to wipe out hundreds of lives.
often times the simple spark from a miner head lamp was all it would take.
One of the worst Holiday time mine disasters was in Monongah W.Virginia and near by Rostraver pa at the Darr Mine and Naomi Mine in Nearby Fayette city

all 3 happening with in days of each other and to this day it is not known how they truly happened or how many where killed.
Coffins lined up at Darr Mine

Aftermath Monongah mines


All investigators could do was to speculate as to what caused the explosion like a miners open light 

But how many died is also truly not known because mines did not keep good records of who was working and many immigrant miners would bring relatives into mine to help mine coal and no one knew they where even there .In the Darr and Monongah cases the actual number dead is believed to be over 400-500 dead or more.
 But we will never know as the shafts collapsed in and workers where buried and are still entombed to this day.
Luckily modern mining is much safer and the large numbers of men working underground is no more, at most you have 50-100 working  at a time but accidents still happen and miners die. 
and companys still get away with bad practices as they delay and appeal fines and court decisions.
We can never do away completely with coal mining as coal is used in many more ways than just electric and steel. and until the day it is all done by robots and automation death and danger will be lurking .

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