River Hebert

River Hebert, Cumb. Co. N.S. in 1905

A person who has not seen this place for three or four years will be rather surprised to find how busy a village or group of villages, it is. The development of the local mines is the principal cause of the growing importance and increased activities of River Hebert, but the place is a centre for a productive farming and the centre of a considerable lumber operations. The main Village is situated at the point where the road from the East side of the River Hebert to the Joggins Mines crosses the road that runs up and down the East side of the stream. From this corner to the Joggins passing up the hill is a village store and the road down the river towards Minudie is another store. At or near the corner there are seven general stores with an eight store about to be added. There are three churches, a graded school and a Bank. River Hebert has a butcher whose team makes daily rounds.

A farmer with a fine herd of twenty cows sends a milk wagon through the settlement and to the Joggins. Market gardening is also an important industry. Less than a mile on the road to Minudie, is the Minudie Mine, now known as the Kimberley. Near the head of the pit is a cluster of houses numbering a score or so, several of them double tenements, and most of these are new. On the opposite side of the river, a half a mile away in the straight line, or two miles by the road is the Strathcona Mine. Some cottages have been built in that neighborhood forming a small village.

But these mines are on the line of railway from Maccan to the Joggins which crosses the river between. Three or four miles farther towards Maccan is the Jubilee Mine, which also has a few houses about it. At all these mines development work is going on, while two of them are shipping considerable quantities of coal. The sales from the Minudie Mine last year was 35,000 tons, of which 20,000 tons was sold for use on the Intercolonial Railway.

The Strathcona sales were 6,000 tons whereof the Intercolonial bought 2,000 tons. Each of these mines employed 100 men last year. The outlay for development work was about $6,000. A wharf has been built in connection with the Strathcona Mine.

The Minudie Mine has hitherto shipped its output chiefly by way of the Joggins Railway. It is proposed that another outlet by the way of the new railway from the mine to the mouth of the river at Minudie a distance of six miles. Construction work has already begun on the road for which federal and provincial subsidies are available. There will be a wharf at the Minudie Terminus, and it is claimed that the road will be of general service to the community especially the Minudie end of it.

The project is less popular with some of the River Hebert farmers where property is intersected by the railway. Some of these farms already have been cut by the Joggins road, and by a tramway, for which expropriating powers were obtained. It is not thought to be an advantage to a farmer to have a railway track between the house and the barn, or between the barnyard and the pasture or between the house and the road or the farm buildings and the well. In this particular case the farmers are comparing notes over the wards of the valuators. The awards have just been filed and as might be expected, they don’t give universal satisfaction. Damages ran from $1,000 down to small sums, and those interested find it difficult in some cases to reconcile some allowances with some others. The total cost of the right-of-way is said to be about $6,000. The valuators were William Black and George Forrest of Amherst, N.S. and George C. Harrison of Southampton, Cumb. Co. While this prospective railway with the line now in existence will give the people a fair outlet for their produce, the river road is still useful. The River Hebert is still navigable somewhat crooked stream and schooners have often been delayed by wind and tide. These troubles are of late greatly less severe by two things or rather by one tug and a small steam boat, which latter craft has been useful.

(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, December 18, 1993, – Cumberland, News from “Amherst Daily News”, By Ernest E. Coates)

River Hebert mine tragedy in fall of ’30

EDITOR’S NOTE: At 6:40 p.m. on the 17th of September, 1930, a blast ripped through the Victoria Mine in River Hebert, killing seven miners. It was the worst county mining tragedy in 25 years and there were some sad scenes enacted at pit mouth in River Hebert following the blast. Hundreds of people crowded around the entrance to the slope and they remained there until the last bodies were brought to the surface. The following story appeared In the Amherst Daily News the following day.

By Ronald M. Ross

Today an entire mining district is a centre of mourning. Seven homes have been desolated as a result of the catastrophe in the Victoria Mine last night. Seven lives were lost in the tragedy, and other men were carried to the very doors of death. Three other miners were injured, one of them quite seriously, while several rescuers were overcome by gas. Scenes of sorrow that were enacted at the mouth of the Victoria Mine during the first hours of the tragedy, were today carried into the homes of River Hebert. And withal, amid the sadness, were performed acts of gallantry and self sacrifice, made with stoical disregard and without thought of consequence. Volunteers forced their way down gas filled slopes in an effort to rescue stricken comrades. These volunteers carried on against physical impossibilities and fought the poisonous vapors, in a determined effort to reach fellow workmen. This morning all seven bodies were brought to the surface. Three of the victims had been carried to the surface shortly after midnight, but the remainder were reached by the Draeger men, and sent to the surface at five o’clock.


Wilfrid White, 47, widower, 3 children.

William White, 21, married, one child.

William Burke, 52 married.

Rudolph Kiolieck, 21, single.

Simon Fowler, 45, married, 3 children.

Clarence Magrath, 21, single.

Philip Brine, 64, married.


Joseph Kiolieck, badly gassed.

Hector Macrae, underground foreman, gas and burns.

Carl Burbine gas and burns.


Amiel Kiolieck, Edward Richard, Leo Burbine

Other men paid toll for their efforts at rescue, Robert Belmano, manager of the No. 4 Mine of the Maritime Coal, Railway & Power Co., who was one of the first rescuers down in the gas filled pit, was rushed to the hospital in Springhill today for oxygen treatment. Osward Fife, another official of the Maritime Coal Co., was also badly stricken but was today partially recovered. Charles J. Kent, manager of the Victoria Coal Co., was down the slope a few minutes after the first report of the accident, and although he was later forced back by the gas, he maintained his efforts around the pit mouth throughout the night. Charles Gates and Lloyd Moffat were also among the men who suffered intensely from gas fumes. There were others as well, but the miners when approached by the News writer early this morning treated their own efforts lightly.

The exact cause of the disaster has not been ascertained, but a mining investigation will be conducted by Norman MacKenzie, Deputy Minister of Mines without delay. Mr. MacKenzie who had been called to Springhill for a conference was at the scene of the disaster a few hours after the actual tragedy had occurred.

Mr. MacKenzie accompanied the Draeger crews from Springhill to River Hebert, and remained at the pit mouth until all the bodies had been brought to the surface. Today he was engaged in interviewing the various officials and workmen connected with the mine.

The Draeger men were under the direction of A.K. MacLeod, Superintendent of Besco operations at Springhill, and T.F. MacColl, Chief Mining Engineer for the British Empire Steel Corporation and Harold Gordan Assistant Engineer. The Draeger captains were Dan Lauchie MacKay, Daniel O’Rourke, and Charles Meagher, while the men upon the crews armed with helmets and oxygen equipment, with which they brave the gas filled deeps were:

Dan Hagarty, John Comeau, Stanley Wood, Otis Smith, Charles Letcher, John Regan, Seymour Hopkins, Robert Jewkes, George Nicholson, John Lowther, Cecil Herritt, Carl Rector, John Mark White, and Hugh MacSavany.

All of the men rescued were assisted from the gassy depths by the rescue crew, who themselves braved death by venturing down to render assistance, without having the regular equipment used for such work. Robert Belmano in fact reached the body of William Burke, and commenced to carry it up the slope, but collapsed under the effects of the gas, and was himself saved with difficulty by other members of the volunteer party.

No official statement was issued by the mine management this morning as to the cause of the catastrophe. The Victoria Mine, has long been known for the quantity of gas “made” in a day.

Yesterday on two occasions during working hours it was stated that the ventilating fan, that forces a current of air down the main slope and around through the various levels and into the airway, had stopped. Repairs were necessary. It was thought that during the interval of fan idleness that the gas may have accumulated, in a pocket in a lower section of the mine deep; and there been exposed to an imperfect light, causing its ignition. The theory of a just explosion was also advanced, while other mining causes were also held as attributable to the disaster.

The night crew of some thirteen men were working in 1500 East, No.1 Balance when the accident occurred. Survivors have been unable to give accurate details of what took place, although there was certainly an explosion as the men were marked by fire.

The effect of the explosion was discernible at the surface as chips on the slope and around the mouth of the pit were hurled some distance up the track toward the bank head. Tremors of the earth were felt in many parts of the village, as far away as Bowles Garage.

The alarm was sounded and a volunteer force was organized without delay. They forced their way down the slanting slope, facing the fumes of the deadly after damp. Survivors of the tragedy were encountered, crawling toward the open air, and these men were sent to the surface.

With the knowledge that the entire section seemed to be filled with gas, word was rushed to Springhill for assistance, and the Draeger equipment, and medical service was promptly rushed to the River. Undertakers and ambulances were ordered from Amherst.

Only a few minutes after the explosion occurred the pit mouth was surrounded by miners, their wives, mothers, children and other relatives, and many sorrowful and touching scenes were observed as the rescued miners were brought to the surface, to be followed sometime later by the bodies of those who had perished either in the blast or from the poisonous fumes. Hope for missing men was entertained until the last by frantic relatives, but reports sent to the surface indicated that there was little chance for the lives of those who had not been removed from the pit in the early phases of the accident.

The tragedy was the worst experienced in the mining annals of Cumberland County, since the Springhill Explosion of 1891, and was is actuality the first disaster of such consequence that had ever been experienced in the Joggins or River Hebert mining field.

The Victoria Coal Co. controlled by a New Glasgow Syndicate comprising James Cunningham, and Messrs MacCulloch and Graham, has been one of the largest independent producers in the district under the management of Charles Kent. Same morning, and scores of people went, same mine, and it was necessary to permit it flood in order to extinguish the conflagration. Weeks later it was re opened and the inspectors found that the rising water had put out the flames. Great exertion was required to free the mine from water, and it was only within recent weeks, that it was re opened for regular coal production.

Many startling stories regarding the extent of the disaster were circulated around this community last night and in the early hours of the morning, and scores of people went, not only from Amherst but other sections of the county to the scene of the tragedy. Hundreds of curious people continued the visitations today, and the presence of Corporal R.W.M. Nichol was deemed necessary at River Hebert.

The exact time of the regular investigation by the Deputy Minister of Mines has not been set, but will probably be held within the course of the next forty eight hours. Such investigations are always held in connection with mining tragedies, and answer the purpose of an inquest.

(In view of the fact that many people in the River Hebert-Joggins district, and in fact in the county in general, have not read the report of the Commission appointed last September to investigate the cause of the accident in the Victoria Mine, River Hebert, through which seven miners lost their lives, the News is taking the liberty to publish the document in full as recorded in the annual report of the Department of Mines of Nova Scotia, as presented to the Legislature at its last session. The report follows:)

     Col. The Hon. G.S. Harrington, Minister of Public Works and Mines, Halifax, N.S.

     Sir: In the matter of the Coal Mines Regulation Act of Nova Scotia and in the matter of the investigation into the deaths of William White, Clarence McGraw, Emile Krawlick, Simon Fowler, William Burke and Wilfred White, who were killed in the section below the 1000 Ft. Level in Victoria No. 2 Mine, River Hebert.

     Present: Norman McKenzie, Inspector of Mines, Wm. MacKey, J. Fred Moffatt. Appointed to assist under Section 105 of Part 7 of the Coal Mines Regulation Act 1927, by the Hon. Minister of Public Works and Mines.

     G. E. R. MacKay, Deputy Inspector of Mines.

     R. Douglas Graham on behalf of the Victoria Coal Company.

     J. A. Hanway, K.C. on behalf of the Heirs of deceased miners.

     Butler-Keith, Local 4510, River Hebert: Wm. Hayes, International Board Member; Howard Tattrie, Sub-district Board Member, representing the United Mine Workers of America.

     J. M. Wall-Stenographer.

     This investigation was held by me at River Hebert on the 1st and 2nd October, 1930.

     The bodies of Wm. White, Clarence McGraw, Emile Krawlick and Simon Fowler were found in No. 1 Bord West in this lower balance, two of them a short distance in the Bord and two at or near the slope. Philip Brine’s body was found on the slope near the locality. The first four men, according to the evidence of Hector McRae, were supposed to be working in No. 1 Bord, and Philip Brine in No.2. William Burke’s and Wilfred White’s bodies were found on the slope. As all the bodies were found some distance from where they were working it is reasonable to assume they were suffocated by the after damp.

     From Hector McRae’s evidence he expected the men working in No. 1 Bord to reach the top of the longwall face somewhere around 6:30 that evening. After an examination was made of the mine by the Inspector, Deputy Inspector and Mr. William MacKay this was the only place where they could see evidence of gas being ignited, and concluded that the explosion took place there, which was one of the most likely places of an accumulation of gas. In all probability the gas was ignited from one of the open lights used by the workmen.

     In view of the above, I find that the deaths of the seven men were caused by suffocation from afterdamp, following an explosion of gas.

     All of which is respectfully submitted. Dated at New Glasgow, N.S., his thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty.


     Special Examiner

     Memorandum for Special Examiner in the matter of inquiry into explosion at Victoria No. 2 coal mine, River Hebert, September 17, 1930. The following is a description of the mine from the mouth of the slope to the place where the accident occurred.


(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, December 12, 1992, Page 3 – A Touch of Cumberland History – River Hebert mine tragedy in fall of ’30)

River Hebert mine tragedy


     Victoria No.2 in which the explosion occurred on September 17, 1930 at 6:40 p.m. is situated at River Hebert, Cumberland County.

     The slope was started from the outcrop of the No.3 seam and driven down on the pitch of the coal to a distance of over 1000 feet. This they call the one thousand level. A cross measure tunnel was driven from this point at a level grade until it reached No. 1 Seam and passed through No. 2 or the Victoria Seam; and 53 feet between the Victoria and No. 3 Seam. For convenience we are calling them starting from the uppermost seam Nos. 1, 2 and 3. From the inner end of the above tunnel they drove in No. 1 Seam on the pitch a distance of 350 feet and then drove on the same course a cross-measure tunnel down to No. 2 Seam. The same course, was then continued on the pitch to develop a mine in this seam. A profile of this work was submitted on request and marked W2 a copy of which was sent you with a blue print of the mine. The new section developed on the above course is in No. 2 or the Victoria Seam from the latter tunnel.

     The reason for driving the tunnel from No. 3 to No. 1 and then back from No. 1 to No. 2 is that No.2 Seam had been worked in that territory before, consequently they avoided going through the old workings in No. 2 or driving in No.1 with only 52 feet of strata between, which would permit the water in No. 2 old Mine to enter the new workings. It also appears that they had a preference on account of the quality of the coal in No. 2 in comparison with No.3.

     During the driving of the slopes in No. 1 they drained the water from No. 2 by boreholes to No. 1 according as they could handle it with the pumps. These boreholes from No. 1 to No. 2 were connected to this old mine which was not ventilated. It appears that during the time they drove in No. 1 Seam they connected to No. 2 by 7 boreholes in all. The last borehole is still running water, and it is by this means that they keep the old mine unwatered.

     On our examination of the mine during the investigation we ordered all boreholes, with the exception of the lower one, sealed with concrete if possible so as to avoid connection between the old mine in No. 2 and the new development. The lower hole we did not ask to have sealed as it always stood full of water which made it impossible for explosive or noxious gas to come from the old mine.

     A barrier of solid coal is left to avoid a connection between the old mine in No. 2 Seam and the new section which they are working. The new section is developed from the tunnel to a distance of 280 feet on the same course as the slope on the pitch of the seam.

     All the coal in this new section is being extracted, packs built on either side of the slope and a longwall face developed on either side. The West face at the top is in a distance of 120 feet from the slope. The longwall face is on a course which converges with the slope until the face is only 20 feet from the slope at No.6 gate, which is near the bottom of the slope.

     No provision is made for the second entry on the west side except along the working face. It may be the intention to put one on the opposite side, although it would not be in line with the present intake or passage on the west side. It is provided for at the present time while the working face and the ventilating bord at the top of the new lift are maintained. We think it will be very difficult to maintain the air at the face in this section unless the lower side of the upper air-course is perfectly sealed, and also the upper side of No. 6 in the same manner.

     We understand there was no connection made from the present intake airway to No. 2 Seam only a staple shaft was sunk some time previous to the explosion. No development work of any consequence should have been done until this connection was made. Although they had canvas doors on each gate we think it was impossible to maintain the air at the face on account of not having a perfect seal where the coal was extracted in the gob between the gates, consequently the place would be very difficult to ventilate until the roof settled to the pavement to make a perfect seal.

     We must say here that we cannot approve of the method of laying out this section knowing the difficulty which would be encountered from the standpoint of keeping a current of air along the face.

     It was very difficult to get information through evidence of the witnesses as to where the gas was ignited. From our examination with the Company officials on the morning of the second day of the hearing on which we made an examination of the entire section of the mine which was working on the day of the explosion the best evidence we could obtain was from observing the connection of the working faces. In our opinion the explosion was not sufficiently violent to leave very strong indications of the direction of the force. The clearest information which could be obtained was at the top or near the top of the west face. Indications were observed there which would show that there was considerable heat as some coking was observed on the inside of the props and packs. For that reason we would give it as an opinion that the initial explosion was in that locality.

     Carl Burbine, who was loading a box in No. 5 gate or bord near the bottom of the sinking, gave evidence on page 42, questions 1, 2, 3, that he saw a blaze coming from under the brush. No doubt he means here in the mining. This would lead one to think that the explosion at the top of the face was propagated by some dust from the mining which is not at all unlikely. It appears that Nos. 3 and 4 above him had already been cleared out. This can be observed from page 43, question 11.

     Hector McRae in his evidence on page 47, question 3, said that he started, –

     William White, Clarence McGraw, Emle Krawlick, Simon Fowler, No. 1. Philip Brine, No.2.

     The first four men were working in No. 1 and the fifth man in No.2. These men were apparently all suffocated by the afterdamp as they were all a short distance from the places where they likely would have been working. The same can be said of Philip Brine, who was working in No.2 which was the next gate to the other four men. We think this is very strong evidence that the initial explosion took place at that point when the indications at these places show as above described.

     From Rudolph Krawlick’s evidence on page 46 he and Wilfred White were working together in No. 3 East and William Burke no doubt suffocated from afterdamp. Although we could not determine where William Burke was working Rudolph Krawlick said he was with him and Wilfred White endeavoring to get through the afterdamp which shows that he was overcome with the damp.

     From the evidence submitted at the investigation we understand that on the 17th day of September last, which was the day of the explosion, the booster fan was stopped at 10:40a.m.f or 30 minutes: at 1:30 p.m. for 10 minutes; and at 3:10 for 25 minutes, making in all one hour and five minutes. It was difficult to obtain information as to how long this fan was stopped at 10:40. The best evidence we have received was from Mr. Raynard Jowett, the Mechanical Engineer, who was repairing the fan. He stated that it was stopped when he came, but he did not know how long before that it was standing. His statement is that it took him 30 minutes to repair it.

     From our knowledge of what service the booster fan was giving before we went in the mine we did not consider it very important. After examining the mine and seeing the situation we considered it was playing a very important part in ventilating these faces and we believe if the mine was making very much gas it should show at the face if it was stopped 30 minutes. It may not show that it had reached an explosive mixture but a very little added would give a mixture in the high places which would explode.

     It would appear from the evidence that the Manager and the men entertained an idea of that kind. The Manager’s action would corroborate this although his statement is that he was not in any way excited because of a danger which might exist through the fan being stopped. The very fact of withdrawing the men, telling them to blow out their lights or keep their lights low, would indicate that there was at least a certain suspicion that gas might accumulate.

     Under conditions of this kind an examination with a locked safety lamp should have been made of all the working faces and places adjoining before the men were permitted to return to their work after being ordered from their places. We do not think that Section 44 of that C.M.R. Act can be construed to mean a case of this kind.

     We have said that we think the stopping of the booster fan on that day was at least partly responsible for the accumulation of gas, and that we do not think there was sufficient precaution taken to examine the faces after the fan was stopped for some time.

     We asked the Superintendent of Springhill to give us the readings of the barometer from the 15th to the 19th. The following is a copy of the report given:

     “Barometer readings taken at No. 6 Mine Springhill on the following dates:

                    7 a.m.   3 p.m.  11 p.m.

Sept. 15th;   29.5;     29.38;   29.45

Sept. 16th;   29.3;     29.36;   29.4

Sept. 17th;   29.2;     29.2;     29

Sept. 18th;   29.3;     29.48;   29.4

Sept. 19th;   29.35;   29.38;   29.6

     It can be seen from the above readings that there was a slight fall in the barometer on the 17th September. At 11 p.m. the reading was 29.0. This may have permitted a certain amount of gas to come from the old workings connected to this mine by boreholes which we have already described. On the day we visited the mine in a crude way we took a sample from the top of the boreholes. We did not have any means such as a tube to get a sample any further down the hole.

     We had Professor Murphy analyse these samples and it is as follows:

Oxygen …………………….. 9.20

Carbon Dioxide …………. 6.20

Carbon Monoxide ……… 

Methane …………………… 4.15

Nitrogen  ………………….. 80.45

     (See location of boreholes on profile W2)

     Quite true this would be only responsible to a very small extent for an accumulation of gas and may not be discovered at all if the fan had been kept running constantly. It is quite clear from the evidence that a considerable amount of gas was exuding from the coal face.

     An accumulation of gas would likely be found at first in the high corner of the face or in any small cavities such as brushing at the gates, but l am rather inclined to think that more likely in the high corner at the face. In Hector McRae’s evidence on page 50 question 34 he stated that at 5:30 or 6 o’clock they would likely be working on the high side after the machine was shifted. In this case all the evidence points to the gas having been ignited at that point. It is clear from the evidence that gas had been ignited several times from small feeders from the working face. The booster fan being stopped for at least one hour and five minutes during the day, the drop in the barometer would permit gas from the old workings through the boreholes which would be carried in the air after the fan started and very likely increase the quantity in that high corner. This would be ignited by the men who, Hector McRae states, would reach there around 6:30. The men who were supposed to be working there were all more or less burned but evidently reached the place where their bodies were found. It would not appear that their injuries from the burns would cause their death but they had evidently been overtaken by the afterdamp when endeavoring to escape.

     We think from the evidence submitted that there was not a competent man on this afternoon shift in charge in the mine to make an examination of the working faces after the men were withdrawn when the fan was stopped and to give them a clear report before returning. There should have been an underground manager, overman or examiner to direct the workmen on the shift should anything unusual occur.




Inspector of Mines

December 2nd 1930.

CORRECTION – Last week the story stated that Ralph Kralicek was one of the seven dead miners. In fact Ralph was injured and brother Amiel killed. 


(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, December 19, 1992, Page 3 – A Touch of Cumberland History – River Hebert mine tragedy)

Another River Hebert tragedy in 1931

EDITOR’S NOTE: in early May, 1931, a gas explosion ripped through the New Victoria Mine In River Hebert, killing six miners. It was the second mine disaster to hit the area In six months. The explosion followed a dynamite shot with the end result being six killed and three injured. The survivors found a road to safety through the mine’s air shaft. The following story appeared in the next day’s edition of the Amherst Daily News.


Adolph LeBlanc, Single.

Sanford Legere, Single.

Charles Stevens, Married-wife and five children.

Thomas Jones, Married-wife and ten children.

Sam Rector, Married-Wife and children.

George Quinn, Married-wife and ten children.


Garfield Stevens, badly burned by gas, recovery uncertain.

Lawrence Cormier, burned by gas on body.

Burton Scott, injured about face.

     Once again, with startling suddenness tragedy has swept down upon the homes of River Hebert. Mourned vacancies were created this morning in six families by the terrific gas explosion in the New Victoria – a mine owned and operated by the Victoria Coal Co. With six men killed by the force of the explosion and the resultant gas fumes, three others were badly burned by the fierce flames that swept the workings, for a few seconds. Two score men were working on the face when a dynamite shot ignited the accumulation of gas. Through smoke and deadly afterdamp the survivors forced themselves to the airway after ascertaining that the main slope had been blocked. Scrambling up the airway they reached the surface, and safety.

     News of the calamity spread through the mining community with lightning like rapidity, and within a few minutes of the explosion, the pit mouth was surrounded by anxious relatives. For many minutes the worst was feared, as a cloud of smoke rolled from the opening leading down the main slope. Doctors and nurses were summoned to the scene without delay – to be in readiness to attend survivors. Word was spread all over the county that forty men had been buried alive by the falls that ensued after the explosion but an hour later this rumor was checked, as cheering news was received, that a majority of the shift had reached the surface.

     Staggering into the open air, the men who had fought through smoke, fire and gas, gave their tale to anxious enquirers. They named the comrades who had been stricken by the blast, and volunteers at once commenced to force their way down the slope to secure the bodies. Their gallant efforts was successful. Five bodies were brought to the surface within a short space of time and later the remains of Thomas Jones were discovered. His body was brought to the surface shortly after eleven o’clock.

     The actual accident took place at 8:15 this morning, only a short time after the shift had descended. The men were engaged upon the wall on the six hundred foot level. According to the story told by the survivors, George Quinn had just fired a shot, to bring down a shelf of coal. The flash of the dynamite blast according to the general belief ignited an accumulation of gas. The workings were filled with flame. Many of the miners were knocked to the floor by the concussion, while coal cars were thrown from the track.

     Hundreds of tons of stone and rock were brought down by the force of the shock, and the main slope was blocked by these falls, preventing an immediate access to the open air. The workers were marshalled together, as soon as they had rallied from the effects of the blast, and after discovering that the main haul had been blockaded worked around to the airway and made their ascent.

     It was the second serious mining tragedy that has visited the community of River Hebert within six months. Last fall seven men were killed as the result of a gas explosion in the Victoria Mine – a properer could say pointed to better working conditions. Mr. Petrie added.

     “One must be truly patriotic when we see on all sides women and children of our kith and kin on the verge of starvation while we see the C.N.R., which is the property of the people of Canada, mining a million and a half tons of coal under non-union conditions in a foreign country,” P.G. Muise declared.

     “The coal industry working two or three days a week cannot exist under present conditions any more than the average individual can,” Mr. Muise declared. “Every day a mine is idle, the overhead costs are going on and added to the total cost of production which in turn is held up against the men when a wage contract is being negotiated,” he added.

     Mr. Muise told of men going to their families with as low as 19 cents in their weekly pay envelopes after deductions had been taken out for various institutions under the check off plan.

     Secretary Pilling of No. 11 Local submitted a resolution calling upon the Government to place into effect its present National Fuel Policy. After some discussion, in the course of which the delay was severely criticized, the resolution was endorsed by the gathering.

(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, December 26, 1992, Page 3 – A Touch of Cumberland History – Another River Hebert tragedy in 1931)