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THE PENYGRMS EXPLOSION. THE INQUEST. CORONER'S OPENING SPEECH. EVIDENCE OF THE MANAGER, &c. It will be remembered that the formal opening and adjournment of the inquiry into the deaths of the men killed at the Penygraig Explosion took place on the 13th of December, but the actual work of the inquiry was commenced on Tuesday, when, besiden the two coroners, Messrs. G. Over- ton and E. B. Reece, there were present: Mr. Wales, Mr. Hall and Mr. Rhys, Inspectors of Mines; Mr. Simons, solicitor, of Merthyr, repre- senting the colliery owners; Mr. W. Abraham (Mabon), on behalf of the men; Superintendent Matthews, of Pontypridd; Dr. Davies, Porth; Dr. Hamilton; Mr. Gallaway, Dinas; Mr. Moses Rowlands, Penygraig; Mr. John Morgan, Cardiff; Mr. Moses Morgan, Cardiff; &tc. P.S. Price and P.S. Row Were in attendance; th, first-named officer having charge of the inquest, under the direction of Superintendent Matthews. JURY. The following is a list of the jurors z- William Davies, gentleman, Cwrt Villa, foreman. Howell Davies, grocer, Waun Cwrt. John D Williams, farmer, Clydaoh Vale. David Davies, farmer, Pandy. Hopkin Knill, contractor, Pandy. Richard Lewis, boot manufacturer, Pandy. William Rees, grocer, Pandy. William Jones, outfitter, Penygraig. David W. Davies, draper, Pandy. William Thomas, grocer, Trealaw. John Williams, land agent, Trealaw. Morgan Richards, innkeeper, Edmundstown. William Roberts, gentleman, Edmundstown. Thomas Owen, innkeeper, Pandy. Rev J. R. Jones, Llwynpia. Rev. J. M. Jones, Pandy. David Williams, ironmonger, Paady. Joseph Kinsley, jeweller, Pandy. These names having been called over, plans of the colliery were placed on the table for the use of the coroner and jury. OFXNIlfa ADDKKS8 OF THE COBONKB. Mr. Overton then rose and said:âGentlemen, We are met here again to day to proceed with the inquiry which we commenced on the 13th. Dec., A serious calamity has occurred in this distriot. and caused profound dismay to many a household, and it becomes your duty to investigate the circum- stances and ascertain as far as possible the origin of the unfortunate occurrence. When we met together on the 13th. December, to oommenee the inquiry, and to perform the sad and solemn duty of visiting the dead I did not contemplate so long a delay, but as you are aware circumstances have arisen to render it necessary that we should postpone our inquiry, but I trust we shall now be able to proceed with it and terminate it shortly. I need not impress upon you the importance of the inquiry, as I feel convinced you are all deeply conscious of it, but I would most anxiously beseech and entreat your earnest attention to the evidence, and every assis- tance you can afford to unravel the mystery in which those cases are universally involved. It is a melancholy fact that this coal field which comprises as well the :County of Monmouth, ha s lately been visited with several serious calamities, and they far exceeded all the other parts of the kingdom in the number and proportion of the accidents. It would appear from the information we have already ob- tained that there was an explosion in the Penygraig Naval Steam Coal Colliery, on the 10th of Decem- ber. and that there were about 106 persons in at the time, only 6 of whom brought out alive, leaving a loss of 101 lives; 98 bodies have already been found and 3 still not recovered. The Home Secre- tary has kindly sent us down Mr Wright, an emi- nent counsel, to assist us in our enquiry, and also Mr Hall, Mining Engineer and Inspector for North Wales. So, that I trust, with their aid and the other evidence which will be produced, we shall be able to come to a satisfactory conclusion. There are generally in these unfortunate occurrences three separate causes to which the deaths may be attribu- ted, viz.: burning, suffocation, and violence, and it will be well to divide our inquiry into these three heads. The position of the several bodies when they were found will be proved to you, and you will then be able to form an opinion as to the locality and ex- tent of the explosion, and that will be the first point to which I shall direct your attention. Having as. certained the locality, you will then have to endea- vour to discover the origin of the misfortune; this is generally a difficult point, but I hope and trust we shall be able to aceomplish it, and, having done so, you will then have to decide the most serious and difficult question whether it arose from accident or from carelessness. There can be no doubt that cases may and do continually occur of this kind from some casualty which ordinary prudence and foresight could not anticipate or prevent, but on the other hand it is equally clear that they may and do arise too often from want of skill, mis- management, want of discipline or negligence. It will be your province to decide to which of those causes this sad catastrophe is to be assigned. I shall have an opportunity after the evidence iq taken of explaining to you the Law on the subject and for the present will content myself with some suggestions that may assist you in pursuing your inquiry and some general observation^. Ton are no doubt aware from the experience you have had in nimilar inquiries, that there are certain Acts of Parliament which govern all mining operations, and these Acts require that certain Rules shall be established in every colliery for the manage- ment of the colliery, and guidance of all officers and men employed therein. You will have copies of the rules of this colliery laid before you, end you will then discover what duties are required to be performed and by whom, and you will be able to discover whether there has been any breach or non-observance of these rules. If you find that the present explosion has arisen frem the breach of these rules, in any material respect, or that there has been on any other point (irrespective of the rules) an instance of gross carelessness or wilful neglect which has caused or contributed to it, you will be bound to represent it as such, and send the case for inquiry before au. other tribunal. In inquiries of this kind I fitid there are generally three essential points to which you have to direct your attention as the safety of all collieries mainly depends upon them. First, the management; second, the discipline; third, the ventilation. Unless the pit is laid out and man- aged by a competent person, the persons em- ployed kept under strict discipline, and the venti- lation sufficient and properly distributed accidents must inevitably occur, and it is to the absence or neglect of some one of those important safeguards that these unfortunate occurrences are generally to be attributed or the destruction of life become more secure. It will be your duty to ascertain in the present instance whether all these requi- sites have been complied with; and another most material point is that the intake an I return air courses are sufficiently separated and the return air courses are sufficiently large and commodious so as to allow of a free exit to the upcast pit of the foul air and gasen engendered in the pit. Al- though your inquiry will extend to the whole of these persons, we have no power to combine them together, I therefore purpose confining our in- quiry to one of each class, and I intend commenc- ing with the case of David Lloyd. IDENTIFICATION AND MEDICAL TESTIMONY. Police-Sergeants Row and Priee having given evidence of the identification of the bodies. Dr. H. N. Davies stated that some of the men had died from burning and some from suffocation, but it ,appeared to him that David Lloyd, and the lad, Samuel Samuel, had died from concussion and suffocation. Dr. Hamilton said the ribs of John Jenkins, overman, were fractured. THE MAYAGZleS EVIDBNCI. Mr. Moses Rowland Rowlands, the next witness called, stated that he was the manager of the col- liery in question. The certificate he held was one granted for service. He was cutting coal when 10 to 12 years of age, and after that he became a clerk, then an overman, and he acted at the Peny- j graig house coal pit as assistant to his father, who was manager, but now his father assisted him at the Naval Steam Coal Colliery. The ventilation at Penygraig was by a fan, 18 feet in diameter, and 60,009 cubic feet of air passed tho first gauge at the bottom of the pit. The velocity when he measured it last was 3,050 feet per minute. He used to go through one pit one day and the other the next, but on the day before the explosion he went through both except one section. He stated that blowers had been found, but they had been properly dealt with, two being made use of to light the top of the downcast shaft There were no naked lights, except one comet, used in the pit, and the keys nf the lamps were chained outside the j lomproom, but there waa one key chained to apart in th pit for the hitcher to light the lamps of the hauliers when they happened to be extinguished. Three of the overmen, who were to report the con dition of the pit. were unable to write. The inquiry was adjourned at half-past three ifi- the afternoon. On Wednesday, Mr. Moses Row- land Rowlands was again examined. He stated that in the pocket of a man found on Tuedsay a match lwa" discovered. An overman's lamp had been found unlocked, and one of the lamps in the lamp-stat*on was not locked, but he thought the lad Samuel might have been going to get a light in that eeond lamp when the explosion happened. He (witnesB) seemed to be of opinion that the overman was firing at a fall which they were rippiag when the explosion occurred, and the con- clusion drawn by many is that he attributes the explosion to that cause, though he did not say so. Near Turberville's heading they found the fuse and boring tools for blasting, and two men crouch- ing down. He admitted that no special precau- tions were taken here other than had been taken at the house coal pits he had seen, but he pointed to the fact that during sinking and connecting of the two pits only one accident occurred, as an evi- dence of careful management. There was no bar- ometer at the pit. but he had one in his house, and there was one at the house coal colliery. One had been ordered for the other colliery also, but it had not come. xviDKNca or us. «OWIJJN> ROWLANDS. Mr. Rowland Rowlands, father of the last wit- ness, corroborated his son's evidence as to the management. He said he was paid a higher salary than his son, but he thought it was partly to make up for past services. He did not know of any other explosion having taken place at this pit. There was an accident about twelve months ago, when the winding gear was damaged, and when he was coming from the pit he saw the flue struck by lightening and cut. There was a fall in the pit when they went down next, but headings might fall in because the pit had been idle for about a month. John Rees, banksman, described the effects of the explosion at the top of the upcast. Charles Moses, overman, stated that he was on duty in the day-time at the time of the explosion, and up to the time he left, six o'clock, there was no gas at Rapp's heading. The inquiry was resumed on Thursday, when, hi ad iition to the officials already named abo", $bore were present: Mr. Edmund Thomas, of Maindee Hall j Mr. Ivans, Bodringallt; Mr. Woods, Llwyn- pia &0. Mr. Moses Rowland Bewlands, who was rO-Wbdo stated that the colliery had been snnk through some [ old workings of the Dinas N*. 8 pit, and the air from the Penygraig pit went up into the flue of the other. The opening into the Dinas pit was stopped* but afterwards opened as, until communication had been established between the No. 1 and No. I it was a help to the ventilation. In reply to a question put by Mr Wright, the witness stated that that had nothing to do with the Dinas explosionâthat took plaoe in a different eeam altogether. THB XrFKCT or COAL DUST. Mr. Simons stated that Mr Galloway was naking some experiments, under the auspices of the Royal Hnmane Society, to ascertain, if possible, the effects of coal dust in explosions. He wouid, theref like the coroners to see those experiments. They might adjourn for the purpose, nnd that might assist in solving the mystery in which this and other simi- lar matters were involved. Mr Overton did not see that they could enter into theories, or they might sit for ever, but, after con- sulting Mr. Wright, he would gi e Mr Silltons a reply. AN BXPLANATION. Mr Moses B. Rowlands explained that be had nothing to de with the colliery during the sinking. He mentioned this with reference to tbo opening in- to the Dinas pit. Charles Moses, overman, Emn Lewis, fireman, and Thomas Morgan, banksri an, were next ex- amined, but there was nothing new in their evidence. They seemed to have considered everything to be right on the day of the explosion. COMPLAINT BY A WORKMAN. David L-wis, timberman, who had worked in No. 2 pit, complained of deficiencies in filling the gob, and said there was a somewhat extensive blower at the stall next to the fault; the lamp-room was in the wrong place altogether; the doors were too loose in some instances, and there was only one wooden door in the main air-way. He said he had not told anyone because he feared he would Ions his place. He had seen a lamp opened in the pit twice. In reply to Mr Simons he stated that he had, after the explosion, applied te Mr Moses K. Rowlands for a certificate of competency; that he referred blm to Mr Rowland Rowlands, and that the latter sent him to Mr Williams, who could know nothing of him ae a workman, but he had a character. The examination of this witness by Mr Simons will be oontinued to-day (Friday).