The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

May 21st, 2014

Feb. 2, 1939Springhill Record
Damage Slight As Town Experiences Miniature Quake; Rush to Mines

     No. 2 mine and the whole town rocked from the force of the “bump” in No. 2 mine at 10:50 Tuesday evening, throwing the whole town into a state of excitement that did not subside until it was learned that no serious damage had been done and only two or three men only slightly injured by falling timber or flying rock.

     The blast occurred at 10:50 p.m. just ten minutes before the trolleys went on to bring the backshift to the surface and serious concern was felt for the safety of the men below as the wires were down and no contact could be made for some time except for men making their way to points above the bump through the pipe slope and fan slope.  First word came from Ross at the 6800 bottoms, near where the worst damage was done.  There was a sigh of relief as he expressed the opinion that the men were safe.  From then on men were hoisted through the fan slope and the whole story began to unfold itself. 

     In the meantime officials were rushing to the scene and preparations were made to lower items to the scene of the trouble.  One must pay tribute to this band of men as they were lowered into the depths seeking the extent of the damage and the safety of the men working below.  Not knowing if there would be another violent bump or not they carried out unhesitatingly what they considered their duty.

Excitement Reigned – While everything was being done at the mine that could be done, men, women and children were rushing from their homes to the pit head, seeking their loved ones who within the half hour would have been safe in their own homes. 

     The bump was so severe that many rushed to their furnaces, thinking they had exploded.  As a matter of fact the shock was so severe it felt like an explosion rather than the ordinary bump.  There was a great deal of rushing around in the homes from the cellar to the attic until it was realized that the disturbance had been caused in the mine. 

    The telephone office and the one operator on duty, was deluged with calls and could not begin to take care of them.  Gradually, however, the “day” operators rallied to her assistance and service was soon back to normal.  It was still difficult to satisfy enquirers as only this week, the Company system had been cut off, except a connection at the Company Office, and little information was available.  It was then the trek started for the mine and the streets were soon black with cars, men, women and children eager for word of brothers, husbands and fathers.  Among the group were Doctors, trained nurses, ready to render whatever assistance might be necessary for the men below.

Calm Around the Mine – On the scene The Record reporter found Supt. E.B. Paul at the Managers office, by the telephone waiting word from the underground, while officials were busy on the bankhead landing a full rake that had been stopped on the slope and were preparing to go down to the scene of the trouble.  Mine Manager, Wm. F. Campbell, who has charge of No. 2 mine, and his Assistant Donald McLeod, as well as the Superintendent were worried looking men until word trickled through that “all was well”.  Interest then centred on getting the men to the surface in case there was another bump which might trap them in the depths.

Survey the Mines – The officials, accompanied by Deputy Inspector of Mines Arthur Phillips and Charles MacKenzie, Mining Engineer, were lowered into the mine and surprise was expressed on all sides that there was so little actual damage from one of the worst bumps that Springhill has ever experienced.  From the 7100 to the 8600 there was considerable timber and loose coal down, but no stone.  This section suffered the most from the shock.

     Starting at the 6100 the shock moved down.  But not before the overcast at the 6100 as well as concrete stoppings were smashed.  At the 6800 the concrete wall at the pump house was smashed as well as a brick stopping.

     From the 7100 to the 8600 there was considerable timber and loose coal was down, but on the whole damage was slight.

Held Up 24 Hours – As is the custom following a bad bump the mines were held idle for 24 hours to be certain there would be no reoccurrence of the bump.  During this period not even repairmen were allowed to enter the mine and the pumps are still.  In the meantime preparations are made to rush repairs which official examination shows to be necessary and at the expiration of the 24 hour period workmen tackled the job of getting the mine ready to work today. 

Smash Pipes – As an example of the severity of the bump the 15 inch pipe through which the mine water is pumped, is broken.  This pipe is said to be about 2 ½ inches thick.

Down Underneath – At the time of the shock the waiting head at the 7100 was well filled with men waiting for the trollies which were due ten minutes later.  One of the occupants described the scene as one of terror for a moment.  Its suddenness startled the men and the dust was so thick they could not see each other although they were shoulder to shoulder.  The coolness of the veterans finally prevailed when it was realized that no particular damage had been done and the men rushed to the back slope on their way to the surface.

Back to Normal – Today the town is back to normal and worked has resumed as if nothing has happened.  The cause of “bumps” and how to overcome them is one of those mysteries which remain unsolved in the mining world.  They are just one of the hazards which men underground are called upon to undergo in their search for a living.  While perhaps a little shaky today, miners will be busy sweating as usual to produce their quota of coal and officials will be busy getting things back to normal.  As far as can be learned all parts of the mine down to the 10, 200 foot level are working.