Randall, Emmanuel ; Mines, Simon

Randall, Emmanuel ; Mines, Simon       1883 January 6th        Corsley

On Tuesday afternoon a catastrophe with ended in the loss of two lives, and a narrow escape of a third, occurred at the Royal Oak public-house, Corsley, near this town.

It appeared that the landlord, Mr Emmanuel Randall, and his man, Henry Barnes, were both engaged in cleaning out the beer vats in the cellar. Two of the vats had been cleaned, and while the landlord was out of the room, from which they descended through trapdoors into the vats, the man Barnes without receiving any instructions or having mistaken his orders, attempted to enter a third barrel which had not been ventilated, and was full of carbolic acid gas caused by a quantity of decomposed matter which was lying in the bottom of the cask.

On entering the room the landlord missed Barnes, and thinking he had entered the dangerous vat in consequence of the trap door being open, he called for help and attempted to rescue the man, but he himself was overpowered with the gas and fell into the barrel.

Another man, named Mines, hearing the call, was attracted to the spot, and was warned by Mrs Rendall not to attempt a rescue as it would be fatal. Determined to try and save the other two, he descended into the poisonous atmosphere, and was immediately overcome. A labourer named Viner rushed into the room just as Mines was getting down through the trap door, and caught him by the arm to prevent him but was unable to hold him, and he fell from his hold.

Assistance was rendered by PC William Poolman, Walter Stiles, Robert Annett, Henry Smith, Herbert Horskell, and Mr John Pearce, and a hole was immediately made through the top and sides of the vat, but the bodies were not taken out for half an hour, when Rendell (aged 63) and Mines (aged 58) were found to be dead, but singularly enough the man Barnes has since recovered.

At the inquest held on Wednesday the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

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