One significant change regulating breakers came after the worst disaster in the history of anthracite mining. Unscrupulous mine owners constructed breakers directly above the mine entrance to minimize the distance that coal had to be moved for processing. At the Avondale Colliery, near Plymouth, Luzerne County, on September 6, 1869, a fire broke out inside the breaker. The deep mine's air ventilation system, linked directly to the breaker building, allowed the fire to spread directly into the mine entrance. The remaining breathable air was drawn swiftly from the mine to the fire, suffocating those trapped below. One hundred and ten miners and breakers boys lost their lives in the disaster. As a result, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania enacted legislation, in 1870, forbidding the construction of breakers directly above or near mine entrances.
it was described by Ellis Roberts as a 'Welsh tragedy'.Nearly all the of the victims were Welsh. Around 60 of them lived in Scranton and their bodies were buried in the Washburn Street Cemetery in Hyde Park.
A very full report.