New Straitsville mine fire   Save
New Straitsville mine fire
Description: Reverse reads: "These three homes on Plummer Hill are being undermined by the 54-year-old New Straitsville Mine Fire. The barrier built by the WPA wokers runs under the road in the foreground. The house at the left is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Willard Andrews and their son, Clyde. The middle house was recently vacated by Mrs. Elizabeth Green when poisonous gases from the fire threatened her life. The house at the right is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. David Rush and their son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Rush. This scene is about one mile southwest of New Straitsville." The mine fires are said to have started November 13, 1884, when striking miners pushed burning cars into a mine, during a strike over wages between the New Straitsville Mining Company's management and mine workers. A small group of union members decided to sabotage the mines. Cars filled with oil-soaked timber were set on fire and were pushed into a mine owned by the New Straitsville Mining Company. The fire quickly spread to the coal seam underground. Reportedly, the coal seam was fourteen feet across and extended an undetermined distance into the Earth. It took several days for the fire to be discovered. By that point, it was too late to stop the fire's spread. As a result of the fire, the mine closed. The New Straitsville mine fire has raged ever since 1884. In 1936, the WPA began work to stop the spread of the fire by building barriers across burning veins of coal. In 1938, nearly 350 men were employed on the project, which then was estimated to cost less than $1, 000, 000. Under the direction of James R. Cavanaugh, a veteran mine fire fighter, tunnels were driven through veins in the path of the fire, and were filled with a clay-water mixture or similar non-burning material. The mine fire effected coal deposits in Hocking and Perry Counties in southeastern Ohio. It was estimated that by 1938 the coal destroyed, more than two hundred square miles, was worth fifty million dollars. In 2003, smoke began to emerge from the soil of the Wayne National Forest, 119 years after the fire began. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: SA1039AV_B07F12_029_1
Subjects: New Straitsville (Ohio)--Photographs; Mine fires--Ohio; Coal mines and mining--Ohio; United States. Works Progress Administration
Places: New Straitsville (Ohio); Perry County (Ohio)