150th Anniversary of Avondale Mine Disaster

SCRANTON, Pa. -- People observed the 150th anniversary of a disaster that led to some of America's first safety rules for coal miners.

The ceremony on Saturday was held at the Washburn Cemetery in Scranton. That's where about half of the victims of the Avondale Mine Disaster are buried.

On September 6, 1869, the wooden shaft on the mine near Plymouth caught fire, claiming the lives of 108 men and boys who worked as miners.

Two rescuers also died.

"Somehow in the woodworking of the chimney caught fire and that led up to the breaker. At the time, the slope was the only way out of the mine, which was totally engulfed in flames," Carl Orechovsky of Old Forge explained.

Avondale stands as the deadliest mining disaster in anthracite coal history.

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