Special Photo Feature - State Historical Marker Dedicated at Quecreek Mine Rescue Event
Ed Popernack (right), father of rescued miner Mark Popernack and Russell Hess, father of then DEP Secretary David Hess, unveiled Historical Marker

A crowd of more than 150 helped the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation dedicate an official State Historical Marker to commemorate the efforts to rescue nine miners trapped in the Quecreek Mine in July 2002.

A special photo feature of the dedication ceremony is available online.

Participants in the dedication included Laura Fisher, Commissioner Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Rep. Bob Bastian, Sen. Richard Kasunic, Joe Sbaffoni, DEP Directory of Deep Mine Safety, James Marker, Somerset County Commissioner, David Hess, former Secretary DEP and Bill Arnold, President of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation. Bill Brown, WJAC-TV morning anchor, was master of ceremonies.

Four of the nine rescued miners also attended the event: Ron Hileman, Tom Foy, Blaine Mayhugh and Robert Pugh.

“There was unanimous agreement in the Marker Committee that this extraordinary event that meant so much to so many people should be recognized through our Marker program,” said Commissioner Laura Fisher. “The Commission is very pleased to be able to help tell the public about this extraordinary event.”

“We were honored the state Historical and Museum Commission approved a State Historical Marker this year to remember the efforts of all those involved in the Quecreek Mine Rescue,” said Bill Arnold, President of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation. “This is the fourth anniversary of the rescue and each year more and more people want to learn about what happened here and this marker will help us tell the story.”

The text on the blue and gold historic marker reads--


On July 28, 2002, nine coal miners, trapped for four days due to flooding of the Quecreek Mine, were saved via a rescue shaft drilled here. Combined efforts of local, state, and federal agencies, mining and other industries, local mine workers, emergency responders, and community members led to the rescue. The incident prompted changes in mine safety, mapping, and drilling methods. It roused national media and public attention.

The Historical Marker was unveiled by Ed Popernack, father of rescued miner Mark Popernack and Russell Hess, father of then DEP Secretary David Hess.

The PHMC Historical Marker Program began in 1914 to commemorate a person, event or site that has a meaningful impact on its times and is of statewide or national, rather than only local significance. Nominations for markers are reviewed and approved by a panel of independent historical experts from across the state.

The next project to be undertaken by the Foundation is the construction of a visitors’ center at the Rescue Site that will be modeled on the Sipesville Fire Hall were family and friends of the trapped miners gathered to comfort each other and hear updates on rescue operations from Gov. Mark Schweiker and state and federal mine rescue officials.

Plans to move the entire fire hall to the Rescue Site had to be abandoned because of structural problems with the building after the fire company built a new fire hall, but the Foundation hopes to bring portions of the original building to the site to be used in the new visitors’ center.

The Rescue Site is located on a farm owned by Bill and Lori Arnold that continues in operation while the Arnolds and volunteers host bus and car loads of visitors that tour the site every year.

The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation depends on donations from the public and sponsors to underwrite projects like this and to educate the public about the Rescue Site. Contact the Foundation by writing: 151 Haupt Road, Somerset, PA 15501 or calling 814-445-4876 or by visiting: www.QuecreekRescue.org .

NewsClips: Quecreek Mine Rescue Commemorated with Historic Marker

Quecreek Mine Rescue Site Dedicated as Historic Site

Editorial: Quecreek Four Years Later

Links: Special Photo Feature on July 2002 Quecreek Mine Rescue

Original Photos from the 2002 Quecreek Mine Rescue

“Nine for Nine” Commemorative Quecreek Mine Rescue Booklet

Album of All Photos From 4th Anniversary of Quecreek Rescue

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Pennsylvania Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation


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