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FATAL ACCIDENT AT .TREFFGARN.…

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FATAL ACCIDENT AT TREFFGARN. MAN'S HEAD BLOWN OFF. The immunity from fatal accidents which has characterised the work of making the new rail- way line from Clarbeston Road to Goodwick was ended on Thursday when a poor fellow named George Taylor, aged 31, had his head blown off b; the premature explosion of a charge nsed in blasting the rock at Treffgarn tunnel. Taylor, « quiefc steady man, was well-liked by his com- rades, and regarded by his employers as careful and reliable. lie has been employed on the line since March of last year, and has been very nn- lucky. In June he broke his arm, and it healed 10 badly that for months he had to carry it in a ■ling, and almost daily had to trudge into Haver- fordwest to., have it dressed. Recovering from this he injured his ankle, and had to go about with a stick, and then he cut himself, so he had quite a chapter of accidents prior to the closing one. On account of his physical state he was given lighter employment, that of ammunition man, to whom was entrusted the duty of keeping the ammunition, and of placing the firing charges in blasting operations. On Thursday morning it was very wet, and he missed the first quarter, not starting work till after breakfast. There were then several holes ready drilled for firing, and he started on one which was about 12 feet deep. Into this he had to drop about half-a-dozen cartridges of gelagsite, a powerful explosive made up into sticks about eight inches long, by 2iin. diameter, finishing up with a fuse, known as a primer," which fired off the lot. Each cart- ridge as it was dropped in had to be gently rammed home with a long stick. The cartridges had to kept tempered very carefully to prevent accidents, being placed for the purpose in pans of boiling water, as if they became hard or dry/ they were apt to go off with the slightest jar; other- wise, if kept properly tempered, they were as harmless almost as pieces of wood, until the fuse ignited them. It is conjectured that one of the fatal cartridges used by Taylor was not properly tempered, though he was ordinarily most careful, but whether this was so or not will never now be known. What is known is that he went to his ammunition box and took therefrom six cartridges and a fuse. He had placed three cartridges in the hole safely, and was in the act of dropping the ftfurth when there was an ex- plosion which blew him off some feet away, and left him lying on his back with one side of his head and upper part of his body blown away, killing him, of course, instantaneously. THE INQUEST. Mr. Herbert Price, the South Coroner, held an inquest on the body on Friday afternoon at the Mission Hall, near the Corner Piece," on the Spittal Road, where the body had been removed to await the inquest. Deputy Chief Constable James was present, and Mr. Martin, the manager for Sir Thomas Firbank & Co., the contractors. Mr. Wm. John, a ganger in the employ of the contractors, said he had know the deceased since May last. He was a labourer, but' had been employed as an ammunition man, his business being to take charge of the ammunition, and when a hole had been drilled, to place the cart- ridge in it and fire them. On the previous morning witness directed deceased which hole he should fire first. He saw him go to the ammuni- tion box, take out cartridges in one hand, and a primer in the other, and go towards the place he had pointed out to him. That was the last he saw of him. Ten minutes afterwards witness heard a report, and was told a man had been struck. Deceased was a very careful man, and he could not wish to have a better. Witness, replying to the coroner, said he had been used to explosives for 27 years, but he could not under- stand the cause of this premature explosion—he coald'nt fathom it. The-cartridges were placed in one at -a time. Each one had to be dropped into the hole, and gently pushed home. It was a 12ft. hole, and in order to reach the bottom the cartridges had to be rammed down. Witness had dropped thousands into holes in rocks harder than this, and never found any danger in it. The cartridges were Sin. in length by 24in. in diameter. They were safe to handle. Mr. Martin.— An ordinary light will not explode them. Supt. James.—If a cartridge had? not been tempered with, and was hard, would friction explode it 1 Witness.—It was not hard sir. Supt. James.—But supposing it was hard, and it might have been, would it explode then ? Witness.—I cannot understand it: Of course, I didn't examine each cartridge I left it to him (deceased), and he was a careful man. The Coroner.—But supposing he had omitted to soften and temper tine, would it be likely then ? Witness.—It would be likely to explode if hard, but he was a very careful man, and had proper applianoes at hand for tempering the cartidges. Richard Allsopp, driver of a drilling machine, said he was working in the same gang as deceased at Treffgarn. He saw deceased charging a hole which witness had drilled. He had put in three cartridges, and was just dropping the fourth when there was an explosion, the force of which threw deceased on his back six feet away. Deceased never uttered a word or stirred, bat was quite dead. Witnesjp knew that he wojuld be dead, and called to the man working near that they were not to touch him until he had fetched the ganger. The coroner thought they would have no difficufty in arriving at a verdict that deceased came by his death accidentally. The probability was that one of the cartridges was a bit harder than the other, and away it went. There did not seem to be any negligence for which any one could be held responsible. A verdict to this effect was returned.

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