On March 21, 1929 an explosion and fire occurred at the Kinloch Mine in Parnassus, PA. The origin of this explosion was underground and forty-six lives were lost when the incident occurred. At the time of the explosion, there were two hundred and fifty-eight men underground. Fortunately, the explosion was limited due to partial rock dusting and 213 people were able to escape.
From NFPA Quarterly v. 23, no. 1 (1929):
“The explosion traveled up the slope to the Tipple Building, which was ignited and burned for three or four hours. One man was burned to death here and four were injured. This structure, as shown by the accompanying illustration, was entirely of steel construction, with no combustible material except coal dust and pieces of coal, some wooden flooring, and the paint on the corrugated iron walls. The damage to this structure was largely due to the fire rather than to the explosion, which presumably did not have great force when it propagated outside the mine and into the Tipple Building, the floor of which was 25 to 30 ft. above the ground.
It would appear from the description that this fire might have been controlled with a minimum of damage by an automatic sprinkler system if sprinklers had been installed. Automatic sprinkler protection is not usual in this class of property; this case indicates the potential value of such protection.”
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