On the 2nd of December 1875 a minor gas explosion occurred near to the coalface badly injuring two men. Subsequently the mine workings were inspected and found to be free of gas. However the manager decided as a precaution that no men should enter the pit for at least twenty-four hours. For some unknown reason his orders were disregarded and the next morning under the instructions of the overman William Evans the men descended the pit as usual. At 8am another explosion occurred and twenty men were killed instantaneously and another two died later from their injuries.
At the inquest it was suggested that William Evans, a father of twelve children who had watched his family suffer through a recent long strike was desperate not to lose any more time from his work because of his financial difficulties.
The truth will never fully be known, because William Evans was one of the men killed in the explosion.