The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

Mar. 7, 2007

Mar. 7, 2007–Mine Bump of 1952

The Springhill Record, Thursday November 20, 1952 :

Two young, but experienced miners, James P. Brennan and Andrew Davis, lost their lives in No. 2 mine Saturday when they were crushed as the East rib of the pipe slope, in which they were working, was forced almost solidly against the West rib during a sharp bump about 1:30 p.m. which affected only that small section of the mine

Immediately after the bump, workmen in the mine, cleaning up the damage caused by the bump of Nov. 6 th, worked feverishly to reach the trapped men. They succeeded only after hours of work as one group of men after another struggled to break through the barrier, working in the terrific head with picks and shovels on which the handles had to be shortened before they could be used.

Shortly after the bump, Brennan, still conscious, told the men working on the debris that his face was cut, but contact was later lost with him. In an interview with The Record, Elroy Tabor, one of the group that reached Brennan first, said the trapped man was covered with coal and stone from the hips down, but the upper part of his body was resting in a niche in the wall where the floor had been forced almost to the roof by the bump.

Father Buchanan, who had been permitted to enter the mine, crawled into the small opening made by the workmen, administered extreme unction to Brennan and gave him absolution. Removed o the level, Brennan was given artificial respiration for about a half-hour, but failed to respond to the treatment. Working with Elroy Tabor at the time were Doug Lockhart, Tom Tabor, Al Rector and “Sut” Henwood.

Meanwhile the search was carried on for Davis, who was found just below Brennan but completely buried in the coal and stone. He was dead when reached.

Both men were brought to the surface, just as the six o’clock whistle blew, and on the bankhead were pronounced dead by Dr. Carl Adams. Their remains were taken by ambulances belonging to the company and the town, to Brown’s Undertaking Parlor, where a large number of citizens quickly gathered.

At the time of the bump Brennan and Davis were engaged in clearing the pipe slope, which had been filled with debris from previous bumps. They were working up the hill from the 6900 ft. level while another crew was working down to meet them. The pipe slope had been cleared for a distance of 64 feet from the 6900, and when the bump came, without warning, only 13 feet from the level, remained open. The other 51 feet was closed almost solid.

Strange as it may seem, the pipe slope in which Brennan and Davis were working escaped any damage in the previous bump which created extensive damage in other nearby sections of the mine.

The rescue work was carried out under the direction of Supt. Wm. F. Campbell, Manager Geo. S. Calder and Underground Manager Ronald Beaton. Present also were Arthur Phillips, Inspector of Mines for the Mainland and Deputy Inspector Allen Fowler.

Following the accident the mine was closed for 24 hours, and on Monday morning officials inspected the section where the two men lost their lives. Representing the Company were Superintendent Campbell, Manager Calder, Underground Manager Ronald Beaton, Ian Price, Assistant Engineer, and Howard Spence, Safety Inspector. The mine committee composed of Cecil Cox and Harry McCarthy, represented the U.M.W., and Arthur Phillips and Allen Fowler, the Department of Mines.

No statement was given out following the inspection.

Also in the newspaper of Nov. 20, 1952 – No. 2 Mine May Operate Friday

Repairs to the back slope hoist in No. 2 mines have been going on steadily this week and today officials expect to give the hoisting engine a tryout. If the new bearings damaged in the recent bump, work satisfactorily, No. 2 Mine may be working again tomorrow. Officials are optimistic.

During the past few days officials have been able to estimate the damage to the water dam of the main lodgement of the 6800 which suffered heavily in the bump. The water which escaped from the dam, however, affects only a half dozen men in the sinking and will not delay the operation of the No. 2 mine walls. It is expected the workmen affected will be absorbed elsewhere in the mine.

News of the reopening is being well received by the workmen, some of whom were seriously worried over unfounded radio reports that pressure was being applied to have the mine closed. Approximately one hundred men have been employed in getting the mine back into operation.