Cumberland Times-News

Columns

June 2, 2014

Brothers survive mine collapse

The Spiker brothers — Harry, Raymond and Charles — were digging coal from their small mine in Gilmore on April 5, 1950. As 9 a.m. approached, they had already been at work for a few hours and were nearing their first meal break of the day.

Nearly half of the mines in Maryland had shut down in recent years because of a lack of demand. The once thriving coal industry in Western Maryland was suffering. Small mines like the Spikers’ Old Pine Hill Mine of Coney No. 2 could survive because they didn’t need large contracts to get by.

Charles had just pushed a coal car out of the mine when he heard the sound of rock shifting. Something gave, perhaps the timbers in the mine where Harry and Raymond dug at coal within 50 feet of the entrance.

Harry, who was farther inside the mine than Raymond, also heard the sound. He yelled for his brother to get out. Then tons of rock and slate fell into the shaft.

“As I was pinned down by the fall I threw my left arm over my face and landed on my right side. My arm over my face formed an air pocket and I believe that had a lot to do with keeping me alive,” Harry told the Cumberland Evening Times.

He thought that he was going to die as the rock pinned him face down with half of his body in a pool of icy water. A piece of timber that fell across his back bore much of the weight of the surrounding rock. The timber trapped him and at the same time kept him from being crushed.

“When the rock hit me I thought, ‘This is it,’ but then I found I was still alive. I didn’t feel very good about my chances, but then I heard my brother working to get me out,” Harry said.

Text Only
Columns
  • Folck's Mill 3 D.jpg City threatened by hostile army during Civil War

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sleep under the stars! Be a game warden!

    July 27, 2014

  • He was here long before Duck Dynasty

    July 27, 2014

  • Very first memories of a very long life

    July 27, 2014

  • FSU Planetarium has new outreach program

    Several years ago, the FSU planetarium acquired an iPad. Months later, we purchased an iPad projector with necessary cables. I purchased a number of astronomical apps this year for the iPad. So I’m interested in visiting schools in this county to teach the stars and planets to classes. The astronomical apps allow you to survey the current evening night sky and show the planets, bright stars and star groups. One of the apps shows the planets close up with wonderful surface detail (as if you were cruising by in a spaceship). The apps I’ll be using can be purchased from the iTunes app store for a few dollars.

    July 27, 2014

  • O’s, Pirates will be buyers, but when?

    Not that we should expect any blockbuster deals to go down as Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, but the names you hear in Baltimore are catcher Kurt Suzuki and starting pitchers Ian Kennedy, A.J. Burnett and Jorge De La Rosa.

    July 27, 2014

  • Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    July 27, 2014

  • Peanuts and Cracker Jack beat any foam finger

    Times have changed, and for the better, as this week marks the third year in a row NFL training camps have opened and have not taken center stage in the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. That, of course, is due to the play of the three baseball teams that inhabit said cities, the Orioles, the Pirates and the Nationals — two of whom hold first place in their respective divisions, with the other one entering play on Wednesday just 2 1/2 games out of first.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo