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- THE TREDEGAR PIT EXPLOSION.…

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THE TREDEGAR PIT EXPLOSION. <00 11ESUMPTION OF THE INQUEST. EVIDENCE OF THIS COLLIERY IAN AG :.R AND MINERS. At the Temperance-hall, Tredegar, on Tuesday morning, Mr Martin Edwards, coroner, resumed an inque t upon the bodies ot the 14 men killed in the explosion at Pochin pit, Tiedegar, on the 8th of this month. The coroner was assisted by the Hon. A. LyUelton, from the Home Office. Mr Simons (Messrs Simons and Plews, Merthyr), ap- peared for the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company (the owners ot the colliery), and Messrs Wales, Cadmall, and D. Rain, her Majesty's Inspectors ot Mines, were also present. There was a large attendance of the general public. Although the inquest was opened about tortnigiit ago, the pro- ceedings of Tuesday practically formed the com- mencement of the inquiry, the former investiga- 1 tion having been snnply fer the purpose of identification of bodies. The enquiry on Tuesday Was heist directed towards the death of the man Pugh, who was not killed in the explosion, but fell down the pit after the outburst. The first wiiuess called was John Reynolds, an underviewer attije pit,who spoke to having known Pngh, one of the deceased, who was killed by fall- ing down the pit. He said he saw him at half-past ten on the top of the pit, when wit- ness was looking for some men to go dewn after the explosion, i'ugh called oiit, I am the first man to go down the pit." He upt sober, and witness stopped him from getting neitr the pit's mouth a second and a third time. Witness told the man he was not fit to go down the pit, and then went away. Inspector Williams stated that he saw Pugh under the influence of drink at the pit on the night of the explosion at half-past ten. Witness noticed him look down the pit, and seeing that he was in danger, took him away. At 11 o'clock, however, the man returned to the mouth of the pit, and witness saw him fall down. Thomas George spoke to finding at the bottom of the pit the body of a man, which he had since ascertained to be that of Pugh. In the case of Pugh the jury at once found a verdict of Accidental death." The inquiry into the deaths of Thomas Lewis and the other men was then proceeded with. Mr Thomas Henry Marshall Stratton, manager of the colliery, said he was amongst those who were the first to go down the pit after the explo- sion. They descended by mfuns of the upcast shaft at a quarter to twelve. They went to the lodgeroom of the pump man (John Williams), whom they found dead, and much burnt, and carried him to the surface. They then again went down the pit, and after passing the first pair of doors found the body of j'jvan Griffiths, which was very much mutilated; witness believed that his feet were blown off. He was much burnt, as also was the next man discovered, William Owen, whilst Thomas Morgan was in the same state. Furtheron the explorers found four other men— William Evans, John Horncr, John Jones, and William H afod. They were not mutilated, but burnt, and appeared to have been suffocated. The pit was afterwards cleared and the fan got to work, when James Preece and Thomas Lewis were discovered in a stall. They were scorched, and had been killed either by suffocation or concussion. They were not muti- lated. In the big vein working the bodies of William Scott and James Beavan were found, they having been killed, in witness's opinion by suffocation. The bodies of the remaining two men, Isaiah Morris and John Davies, were got out on Thursday, badly burnt. Mr Lyttelton As to the first four bodies, were the appearances as if the men had been blown down as they stood, or as if they had been blown any distance ?—They had been blown a distance- more or less—because the bodies were mutilated some of the feet were detached from the bodies. Could you form any opinion as to the way they were blown ?—I think there can be no doubt that they were blown towards the shaft. Then as to the next four, had they run for a certain distance 1—They were lying on their faces, as men always do who run. Answering further questions, witness extilained that of the other men, one was found in a sitting posture, whilst others again were apparently en- gaged in eating their supper at the time the ex- plosion occurred and killed them. John Reynolds, Poniardawe, said he accom- panied the last witness down the mine, and agreed with him as to the finding of the bodies. David Thomas, shotsman at the Pochin colliery, said that he went down the pit at two o'clock on Saturday afternoon. He went to No. 2 level and fired a shot, after which he proceeded to No. 7 level and fired another shot. He then went to Seth Williams's place and fired a shot in what was called the new road another shot was fired in Seth Williams's fifth road, and shots were fired in several other places. The time of firing the last shot was a quarter to six, at Seth Williams's place, lower road. At half-past six he left the pit. One sliot he left without firing, there being a small hole in the roof, and the lamp showing a blue cap. This was in No. 9 stall. By Mr Simons: I found the ventilation as in the colliery; there was no indication of gas excepting in the one place I have mentioned. ALer firing the shots I went back into the places in which they were tired, and everything was sale. I make it a rule to go back to every place after firing a shot. On leav ng the colliery at half-past six o'clock all the deceased were there, excepting Evan Griffiths and, I think, John Williams. There were four- teen there, but these two men took the places of two who came out. Wm. Owen (one of the de- ceased) had charge of the colliery when I left he had been acting as assistant fireman. Except the four stowers all the men were working on the main intake.—In answer to Mr Lyttelton I examined the pit when I went down at six o'clock on the morning of the 8 h. I did not put any cross timbers in the places where I fired the shots because it was Saturday evening andnoone but the ostlers would go dowu till Monday morning. There is a naked light in the lamp-room while the lamp-man is there, but a light cannot be got excepting when the lamp-man is present. David Walter, collier, said he went dawn the pit at two o'clock on Saturday, and left at twenty minntes past eight. During the time he was in the mine there was plenty of air. By Mr Lyttelton I went into the lamp-station in the afternoon. James Lewis was in charge of it, and had the key of the lamp from which other lamps were When Lewis went away he gave the key to William Owen, and no one else had it. The lamp from which the lights were obtained was not kept locked when the lamp-man was there, but at other times it was. Thomas Fletcher, collier at the Pochin Pit, said that he went down at two o'clock, and worked With William Owen just outside the lamp-station. He leit about twenty minutes past eight. During the time he was working the state of the wind was the same as usual, the air travelling in the ordinary way. JJy Mr Simons There is a lamp-room on the .sunace, where tho lamps are examined and locked. They are also examined again aud locked in the workings before the men are allowed to go through the colliery. This was done on the day uponwhich the explosion took place. George Bradford, surveyor, employed by the Tredegar Iron Company, said that he was down the pit on Saturday, at eight o'ciocl: in the morn- ing, and left about half-past seven ip 'he evening. The mine was then in perfect working order the iiir and ventilation were quite right. Robert Waiter Talford, surveyor in the service of the Tredegar Company, who went down the pit, like the last witness, at eight o'clock on Saturday morning and left at half-past seven at night, said that he went nearly all round the workings on that day. The pit was in its usual state—in good order, the ventilation being all right. James Davies, lampman on the surface at the Pochin Pit, said that Clanny and M ueler's lamps were used. Da\id Hurry, driver of the engine in connec- tion with the fan, said he went on duty at eight o'clock on Saturday, and remained till eight o'clock on Sunday. William Richards, engineman, said he left the pit ahont five minutes to nine on Saturday, when the water was out of the sump. The water would rise 2 feet in 12 hours, in the absence of pumping. William Wilkins, pumpman, who was employed a. certain distance down the shaft, said he heard a report about a quarter past nine on Saturday night, and his lights went out. A good bit of dust came up from the bottom. He stopped his engine and proceeded to signal to those above, but he found ij.¡a.t his knocker wire was broken. Being unable to communicate with the top by this means, he shouted out for a cage, but someone on tho top replied that a cage could not be sent. Witness then remained where he was till Mr Stratton arrived and rescued him. By Mr Simons: I saw no fire coming up from the pit. An adjournment here took place for luncheon. Thomas Jones, collier, having given some evi- dence, John Sewins, collier, said he had been en- gaged as examiner of the colliery for the workmen under the provisions of the Mines Regulation Act, and on the 22ud October ha and another made a thorough examination of the colliery ana found all safe. John Jones, collier at the Pochin pits, said he had been employed in the deep workings, and he had always found the state of the mine good— clear of everything. David AjclX, Jabez Jeremiah, William Seth Williams, and Geoige Phillips ga.ve evidence bearing upon all parts of the mine, which they spoke oi as having always been satisfactory. Charles Hayson, ostler at the Pochin pit, fol- lowed. Benjamin Phillips, fireman, said he examined his district of the mine on Saturday and found it free from He had, however, found gas in the colliery within three months of the shot firing. Mr Lyttelton How do you account for the ex- plosion? Have you any theory in your mind ?— f cannot account for it unless the dust caused it, periiaos. There was a great deal of coal dust in the mine, was there ?—I have seen more in many places ? James Phillips, fireman, stated that on the 7th inst.,ho found a little gas in stall 31, in No. 1 heading. Mr Colquhoun (the manager of the Iron Com- pany) That is the top stall of all. Witness continued thaton discoveringgas he put up cross timbers, but he took them down the same day on finding that the gas had disappeared from the ground however, he found "just a little cap on the lamp—in the same place—but it wa,1 not sufficient to iuduce him to replace the timbers. Wiliiam Owen, fireman, and David Davies, overman, gave some evidence, and the enquiry was adjourned till to day (Wednesday.)

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