13 Year Old Lamp Cleaner fatally burned at Denaby

September 1880

Sheffield Telegraph, September 15th, 1880

A Lamp Cleaner fatally burned at Denaby

Yesterday morning, Isaac Edis, aged 13, died at his father’s house at Denaby, from injuries received on the previous Sunday at the Denaby main colliery. Deceased was a lamp cleaner. In pursuing his avocation his clothes got saturated with oil, and on Sunday as he was placing lamps on a bench under which there were some lighted lamps, deceasedĀ“s clothes got on fire, and he was burned on various parts of the body. When found he was in a helpless condition, and was speedily removed to his father’s house. A medical man was called it, but the lad died yesterday as previously stated. An inquest is to be held at the Reresby arms, Denaby.

Mexborough and Swinton Times, September 24.

Fatal Accident at Denaby Main Colliery.

The Inquest.

Yesterday an inquest was held at the Reresby Arms, Denaby, before Mr D Wightman, coroner, touching the death of Isaac Edis,aged 13, who had succumbed to injuries received on the Sunday evening previous, whilst engaged at his ordinary avocation at the Denaby Main Colliery, where he was employed.

The jury having viewed the body of deceased, and inspected the lamp room at the colliery where the accident happened, the first witness was called.

J. Edis, the father of deceased, said he was fire man at the Denaby Main Colliery. Deceased was a lamp cleaner there. He had been engaged at the colliery about three months. On Sunday night deceased was taken home. He was sensible at the time, but did not say how the accident happened. A surgeon, attended the deceased up to the time of his death, which took place on Tuesday. He did not think there was any blame attached to anyone.

By a jury man: As soon as he came home he said. “I want to go to bed.” I undressed him. He took off his boots himself. As soon as he was undressed he said, “Now I will go to bed,” and walked upstairs himself.

By a another juryman: he was burnt a good deal on his body. His lips were a good deal burnt. I cannot say whether any of the oil got into his mouth. I asked him if his throat was sore and he said “No.” The men who brought him home said no one was to blame for the accident

Enoch Mountford, lamp cleaner at the colliery, deposed to be present when deceased was burnt. There were a number of lamps lit on the bench of the lamp room, and he (witness) was lighting the last one when deceased came in with “the bottoms.” There were about 10 lamps on the bench, all of whichhad the top screwed on; but he had not secured the top on one. The deceased was leaning over the bench to close the “bottoms” on the shelves and in doing so he leant over the lamp, which he had not got the top fastened on. His waistcoat immediately caught fire, and he was soon in a blaze. He stood still when on fire. The witness drew his arm down thewaistcoat with the object of extinguishing the flames, but he did not succeed. Stephen Howells also tried to put out the blaze, as did also William Shields. Both took off their coats and wrapped them around the deceased. Deceased was burnt a good deal on the body and face.

He was taken homeby Mr Swaby and Mr Wells. He (witness) had been on and off at the colliery for about six years, and he never knew anyone to get on fire like this before. They wore cotton clothes. At the time of the accident they were not larking or quarrelling.

Stephen Howells, deputy, said he heard a scuffle, and on looking round he saw the last witness tried to put out the flames, which were on the deceased. Witness ran to the deceased, and rubbed his cap down the flames whilst he pulled off his coat. As soon he had got his coat of he “clapped” it around deceased, and put out the flames.

The coroner here read a communication from Mr Wardell, Government Inspector, expressing his inability to be present at the enquiry, and observing that this was a very simple though peculiar accident. After explaining what deceased was doing at the time of the accident, as stated by the witnesses, he observed that the boys wore cotton clothes, and in course of time, by working amongst the colzoline, the clothes become saturated with it, and were very readily burnt. He had a good deal of talk with the manager, and he persuaded him to see that the boys wore nothing butwoollen clothesin the future. Arrangements will also be made to prevent boys reaching to thehighest shelf, which was being done in this instance. He did not think anyone was to blame.

Mr Warburton, the manager of the colliery, was present, assured the coroner and jury that the recommendations of the Inspector would be carried out.

The Coroner observed that the use of woollen instead of cotton clothes, and the prevention of boys reaching over the lamps were undoubtedly as two important steps as could be taken, and he relied on the manager carrying them out.

Mr Robertson said, in the whole of his experience, he had never seen a similar case of accident.

The Coroner made the same observation.

A verdict of accidental death was returned


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