Hall preservation marks Quecreek anniversary

THIS year's anniversary of the Quecreek Mine Rescue will highlight efforts to preserve the Sipesville Fire Hall where family and friends gathered to await the fate of the nine miners trapped when Pennsylvania’s Quecreek Mine flooded in 2002.
Hall preservation marks Quecreek anniversary Hall preservation marks Quecreek anniversary Hall preservation marks Quecreek anniversary Hall preservation marks Quecreek anniversary Hall preservation marks Quecreek anniversary

Drilling to rescue miners trapped in the Quecreek mine. (Photo by Commonwealth Media Services)

Angie Tomlinson

The Quecreek Mine was the focus of world attention from July 24-28 2002 when miners cut through into an abandoned, water-filled mine flooding the mine with over 50 million gallons of water. Nine miners scrambled to safety, but nine were trapped in a pocket of air in the mine. They were rescued as a result of the combined efforts of state and federal mine rescue agencies and hundreds of volunteers and workers.

"The Sipesville Fire Hall was the emotional centre of the rescue, where the family and friends of the miners came together to support each other during the difficult highs and lows of the rescue operation," Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation’s Bill Arnold said.

"With the construction of a new fire hall, the Quecreek Foundation and the Sipesville Fire Company are cooperating on a joint project to move the old fire hall to the mine rescue site."

As part of this year's celebration, a special charity auction will attempt to raise the approximately $US20,000 it will cost to move the old fire hall to its new location on the rescue site and to help fund the Sipesville Fire Company.

The third anniversary celebration for the Quecreek Mine Rescue will begin at 9:30am on July 23 at the mine rescue site at 151 Haupt Road in Somerset. Several of the rescued miners will attend the event, along with local, state and other officials involved in the rescue.

The yellow rescue capsule used to rescue the miners will also be on display. The capsule was donated to the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation this year by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration. Also on display is one of the bits that drilled the rescue shaft and over 200 other items related to the rescue.

Arnold said public visitors to the rescue site had increased by 20% compared to last year.

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