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Coal Miners Memorial Renton Mines, Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA


Coal Mines of Allegheny Co., PA MAIN INDEX
Renton No. 1 Mine,
Renton No. 2 Mine,
Renton No. 3 Mine,
Renton No. 4 Mine,
Renton No. 5 Mine,

Renton,
Plum Twp.,
Allegheny County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Renton Mines, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Editor,

Updated April 4, 2010

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Renton No. 1 Mine (ca.1915-  ?  ),
Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1915-   ?   ),
             (ca.1920-   ?   ), Union Colleries Company, Pittsburgh, PA 

Renton No. 2 Mine (ca.1920-  ?  ),
Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1920-  ?  ), Union Colleries Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Renton No. 3 Mine (ca.1920-  ?  ),
Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1920-  ?  ), Union Colleries Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Renton No. 4 Mine (ca.    ?    ),
Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA
[A new mine in ca.1920.]
Owners: (ca. 1920-  ?  ), Union Colleries Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Renton No. 5 Mine (ca.   ?     ),
Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA
Owners: (ca.   ?    ), Union Colleries Company, Pittsburgh, PA
             (ca.    ?   ), Consolidation Coal Company

July 19, 1920,
Renton No. 3 Mine,
Renton, PA,
9 Miners Killed.

From the Bureau of Mines Report:

On Saturday, July 17, power was shut off for repairs to the line.  The fan was put in operation about 6:30 Sunday evening, but trouble on the line caused it to by stopped again until 2 A.M. Monday.

The foreman, 6 maintenance men, and 2 firebosses then went down.  At 2:30 A.M. the foreman instructed the powerhouse to put on the power in the mine.  At 3:20 A.M. there was a violent explosion, wrecking the mine workings and blowing the cages into the headframes.  The men in the mine were killed, and much dangerous work was performed by rescue crews in finding and removing the bodies. The mine generated much more methane than was realized by the officials, because of the normally adequate ventilation, hence the foreman's violation of the mining law in permitting the men to enter before the firebosses' examinations were made.

Dry fine dust was thick in the entries, and sprinkling was relied on to keep it damp.  Ignition was evidently caused by an arc from a trolly locomotive moved into an entry not yet cleared of accumulated gas.  This is probably the most violent explosion recorded in the State.
(U.S. Bureau of Mines Report.)

EXPLOSION
BURIES NINE MINERS ALIVE NEAR PITTSBURGH

Rescuers Work to Save Entombed Men 500 Feet Below Surface

Special to The Inquirer.

PITTSBURGH, Pa., July 19.—Nine miners are entombed following an explosion in the mine of the Union Collieries Company at Renton, eighteen miles from here.

It is hoped the men are still alive, and every effort is being made to reach them before they die a slow death of suffocation, more than five hundred feet below the surface.

The missing include three fire bosses, three pumpers and three laborers.

As soon as the cage of the mine was repaired late today, a mine rescue worker, carrying a canary bird, was lowered in the shaft a distance of more than five hundred feet. He was pulled up in ten minutes, and as the bird showed no ill effects from the trip, mebers [sic] of the rescue crew said the mine was free from gas and fire. They explained that the bird was used as a gas and fire test.

Mike Thomas, a lampman who was on duty when the explosion occurred, said today that shortly after the nine men went into the mine on a tour of inspection, he received a telephone call from John Lutman, fire boss, who was with the party at the mine. Lutman, he said, asked that he turn on the power, but, he added, when the fire boss told him there was no danger, he complied with the request. A few moments later the explosion occurred Thomas said.

A second accident was narrowly averted late this afternoon when rescue teams were repairing the shaft for the work of the exploration. The improvised cage on which they were working tipped and the men barely saved themselves from dropping to the foot of the shaft.

The chance that the entombed miners still live lies in the possibility that they found a place of safety somewhere in the workings before the blast reached them, according to mining experts.

Following the explosion a rush of men, women and children was made to the mine. Many distraught and waiting with fear and agony left their beds and rushed to the scene of the explosion without donning their clothing.
(from "The Philadelphia Inquirer," Philadelphia, PA, July 20, 1920.)
(Newspaper article on the Renton Mine Disaster courtesy of Dawn McLaughlin.)

BLAST ESTOMBS EIGHT MINERS.

Attempted Rescue Awaits Repairs to Relating Apparatus.

PITTSBURGH, July 19, 1920.

John Luteman, night foreman, two fire bosses, two pumpers and three laborers were entombed by an explosion in the mine of the Union Collieries Company, at Renton, eighteen miles from here, early today.

The explosion blew the cars out of the shaft, and as soon as repairs to the hoisting apparatus can be made, rescue crews from the Pittsburgh station of the bureau of mines and similar crews from adjoining coal properties will endeavor to find the buried men.

The ventilation system of the mine, which is 513 feet deep, is operated by electricity furnished by a power company. Saturday afternoon it became necessary to make repairs to the plant, and the power was shut off.

At midnight Sunday, Foreman Luteman and the crew entered the mine to see that all was in readiness for operation this morning. It is not known how far they have gone into the workings, but at 3:30 o’clock a terrific explosion shook the entire neighborhood. The cage, by which the men had gone to the bottom of the shaft, was blown up to the surface and the machinery at the top of the tipple wrecked.

A crowd quickly gathered, but nothing could be done as there was no means of reaching the buried men. A rescue car and a full crew was ordered to Renton from the Pittsburgh station of the bureau of mines.

Arriving at the scene, the government men rigged up a bucket, and a small party was sent down the shaft. They have not decided whether they will prosecute.
(from "The Kansas City Times," Kansas City, MO, July 19, 1920.)
(Newspaper article on the Renton Mine Disaster courtesy of Dawn McLaughlin.)

BODY RECOVERED FROM RENTON MINE CAVE-IN

Bureau of mines Rescue Crew Enters Choked Shaft and Recovers One Victim.

MUST CLEAR AWAY DEBRIS

(By Associated Press)
Pittsburgh, July 20, 1920.

The body of one of the nine men who were entombed yesterday by an explosion in a mine at Renton, eighteen miles from here, was recovered by the bureau of mines rescue crew early today. Hope of the rescue of the other eight was practically abandoned when the rescuers, after a trip through a section of the wrecked mine, said the force of theexplosion was general.

The body recovered this morning was burned and leaders of the rescue crew said they believed it would be impossible to establish the identity of the victim.

Members of the crew were forced to dig their way through a mass of debris and then make a passage through five mine cars which were wrecked near the bottom of the shaft. After a struggle of many hours the crew finally entered the mine level. Nearby the body was found. The crew than came to the surface, reported that further progress was impossible until theu had cleared a way through the level, and expressed the opinion that the eight missing men had been killed by the explosion.
(from "The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel," Fort Wayne, IN, July 20, 1920.)
(Newspaper article on the Renton Mine Disaster courtesy of Dawn McLaughlin.)

Renton Remembered

My Father James Bell, a Carpenter was hired to build many of the Coal Miners houses in 1915  in Renton, while we lived in New Texas but after there was sufficient our Family moved to Renton where I went to School that was really two small houses but then a large new school was constructed on top of the hill between New Texas and Renton.

Dad was then made a handy man as he was exceptional at correcting problems and as the Shaft would freeze up during the Winter so Dad suggested reversing the Ventilation instead of the horizontal doors that opened with the cage rising but still froze.

Later he lowered an electric Trolley to the bottom of the mine.

The trolley weighed 20 tons and was too large for the cage so Dad attached it to the bottom of the Cage and lowered it where it stayed and may be still there.

Uncle Eli Martin worked there also and drove a Reo truck for transporting materials for the mine but when A Mr. Ward the Hoisting Engineer quit Uncle Eli became the Hoisting Engineer and worked for many years until 1939.

He retired to Murrysville, Pa.

In 1919 Dad was working on the Cage Guides when his wrench slipped and Dad almost went down so he quit and we moved to Frankstown Road where he became a Building Contractor.

The Original owner (I fogot his name) lived in Pittsburgh and his Chauffer would bring him to Renton in a "Stutz" Bearcat car. It was a 2 passenger car shaped like a Racer. A real beauty.

The owner got into Financial trouble and lost the mines and finally worked on a Tipple himself.

We moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on June 1927 arriving on the day Charles Lindburg landed in Paris, France.

I am near 96 years old but remember the town very well.

John Bell

Coal Miners Memorial Renton Mines,
Renton, Plum Twp., Allegheny Co., PA
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