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Initial Draft

Initial Draft

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Published by Aruna Dias

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Published by: Aruna Dias on Jun 25, 2010
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08/26/2013

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Avondale not just a small town inChester County
"Men, if you must die with your boots on, die for your families, your homes, your country, but do no longer consent to die like rats in a trap for those who have nomore interest in you than in the pick you dig with." John Siney, head of minersunion formed 1868.
Introduction
The small township of Avondale, Pennsylvania slept soundly the night before the 6
th
of September. Little did they know that the next day their town would be at the centre of one of the most historic events in Pennsylvanias history. Avondale a small township in ChesterCounty woke up to a scene like any other fall morning however just hours away the populationwould be delved into turmoil. Anthracite coal mining was the main industry of Avondale at thetime and employed the vast majority of its inhabitants. Coal rich areas of Pennsylvania had alarge influx of eastern European immigrants whowere already used to mining coal mining and thework conditions that came with the job.
T
he Disaster
The Avondale mine disaster was the deadliest of Pennsylvania mining tragedies. It happened atthe Avondale Colliery on September 6
th
1869,
View of a street in Avondale
 
five months after Pennsylvania became the first state nationwide to pass any form of minesafety legislation in the Unites States. The Avondale Mining disaster took the lives of 110people, which included 2 volunteers and 5 boys, the boys were between the ages of 12 and 17.The tragedy was said to be one of Pennsylvanias worst calamities and one that thePennsylvanian mining community would never forget. The magnitude of the Avondale collierydisaster forced the need to implement and enforce mine safety regulations and standards toimprove safety for mine workers state wide.
T
he 6
th
of September, 1869
During the early hours of the morningenormous flames were seen bellowing outof the main Avondale colliery. The firewhich started at the bottom of the Steubenmine shaft spread upward ignighting awooden breaker. Breakers were an oldtechnique used to support mine shafts, thesame technique was discontinued in the UKbut was still in use in the mines acrossPennsylvania.With the entrance to the mine consumedin flames the exit for all the miners insidethe shaft was now blocked and their onlylifeline in the shaft, the air surrounding wasbeing devoured by the roaring flames.Ventilating furnaces set initially to create adraft inside the main shaft, which improvedthe air circulation and ventilation for workingminers was now a consuming all the remainingoxygen in the shaft. Removing all glimmer of hope for the trapped miners and the thousands of people and families eagerly waiting outside the mine.
A Scene from the Avondale Mine Disasterbringing out the dead
 
M
y thoughts
The catastrophe made it clear that many things had to be changed in the regulations of minesin order to improve the safety and working environments for miners around the state.Regulations had been put into place before the disaster at Avondale but were rarely enforced.After the disaster the state of Pennsylvania passed a law stating all Pennsylvanian undergroundmines are to have at least 2 shafts clear or obstructions and surrounding buildings. Changesmade enforcing safety regulations for mine personnel shaped the anthracite coal industry inPennsylvania and was a major step in showing miners that their concerns were heard in theaftermath of Avondale. What also came into practice was Pennsylvania state inspectors wouldfrequently come around and inspect mines for safety and ensure all the new mine safety lawswere being followed. Probably the most important legislation that was changed after thedisaster was the
Mine Ventilation Law
passed in 1870. This law forbade the use of any singleairway as exhaust or intake and required the division of the mine into levels, with each levelreceiving regulated air by a system of airlocks and doors to prevent bad-air from spreadingthrough the shafts and levels.The policies put into place after Avondale made the basis for all mine safety regulations thatfollowed through the history of the mining anthracite coal in Pennsylvania and many of theoriginal safety guidelines can still be found in use in mines today. To this day, the disaster atAvondale Is the worst anthracite coal mining disaster to ever happen in the state of Pennsylvania.
Ruins of the Coal Breaker after theDisaster at Avondale

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