Environmental Heritage: Quecreek Mine Rescue Anniversary Focuses on Preserving History
This year’s anniversary of the Quecreek Mine Rescue highlights the effort to preserve the Sipesville Fire Hall where family and friends gathered to await the fate of the nine miners trapped when the Quecreek Mine flooded in 2002.
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 center 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,” said Bill Arnold of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation. “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 take place to raise the approximately $20,000 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 auction is a wonderful community effort with dozens of businesses and individuals donating items to raise the funds needed to save this important piece of history that means so much to the families of the miners,” said Arnold.
The third anniversary celebration for the Quecreek Mine Rescue will begin at 9:30 a.m. 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 and volunteers involved in the rescue.
State Representative Bob Bastian (R-Somerset) will present a resolution adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives commemorating the rescue.
The charity auction to raise funding to move the Sipesville Fire Hall will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the rescue site.
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 U.S. 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.
“Public interest in the Quecreek Mine Rescue has increased dramatically over the last year,” said Arnold. “So far this year visits to the rescue site are running 20 percent more than last year, which we thought was great.”
The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that relies on support from the public to educate the public about the rescue and to maintain and operate the mine rescue visitor area.
Contact the Foundation by writing 151 Haupt Road, Somerset, PA 15501, by calling 814-445-4876 or online at www.QuecreekRescue.org .
Photo Features: Congratulations Quecreek Rescuers Photo Feature - PDF
PA’s Environmental Heritage
To learn more about Pennsylvania rich environmental heritage, visit the Pennsylvania Environmental Heritage webpage on DEP’s website and the Pennsylvanians and the Environment section of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission website.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Professionals Association also has an environmental heritage project designed to promote Pennsylvania’s environmental history. Last year the Senate passed Senate Resolution 324 encouraging PHMC to create a Pennsylvania Conservation Heritage Program.
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