Pittsburgh, PA
Sunday
April 21, 2019
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
Local News
 
Pittsburgh Map
Place an Ad
Auto Classifieds
Today^s front page
Headlines by E-mail
Home >  Local News Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story
Family who owned drilling site offers hospitality in ordeal

Monday, July 29, 2002

By Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

QUECREEK, Pa. -- The man from the state Department of Environmental Protection stopped by Bill and Lori Arnold's farm yesterday and told the world that, before too long, the place would be looking like new.

Lori Arnold holds two of her children, Morgan, 3, and Janna, 5, right, on their farm near the mine. (John Beale, Post-Gazette)

That place would be the six acres of gully where six bulls and 14 heifers last week were doing what bulls and heifers do.

That was before the equipment moved in, tons and tons of equipment: drills and cranes and earthmovers, all set down on a newly pitched base of softball-sized shale.

It was there that they cleared and drilled and forced air down a shaft where nine miners were stuck 240 feet underground.

Ah, don't sweat the mess, the Arnolds were saying yesterday as the heavy rigs began loading up and pulling out. It was worth it, they said, to see the miners -- every blessed last one of them -- plucked from harm's way by a rescue team that included highly trained daredevils ready to descend into the mine and decompression chambers to help the miners when they came out.

And never mind the rescue-related choppers that inadvertently buzzed 75 head of Arnold dairy cows, putting the herd on the run.

Workers already had trampled fences, Bill Arnold said.

"So, the cattle had somewhere to run," he said.

The Arnolds were sort of conscripted into the job as host for the drill gang early Thursday morning, five hours after a rush of water trapped the miners inside a Quecreek Mine passageway.

The family -- the Arnolds and their four children -- heard their friendly old dog barking and spotted a flashlight. Upon investigation, they found mine officials wandering the property, using high technology to mark the spot where they figured the miners were -- albeit 240 feet down.

The Arnolds prayed. They told their children to pray.

And then they went to work -- Bill Arnold leveling a tree over the spot where they figured they'd have to dig a shaft; then, while the rescue still was in its infancy, bulldozing away ground to ensure no long-forgotten natural gas lines lay underneath.

Then, as one day gave way to the next, they offered hospitality to rescuers while Bill Arnold -- a full-time farmer, an auctioneer and a ski patrolman when he's not sawing down trees or atop a dozer -- made sure all the diesel-powered gear stayed full of fuel.

Yesterday, the Arnold farm looked more like Knotts Berry Farm, with the crowds coming to rubberneck.

"I told my husband once I wanted to open a bed-and-breakfast," Lori Arnold said. "He said we have four kids and a hundred cows already. But if anyone wants, they can come by for coffee."

Back to top Back to top E-mail this story E-mail this story
Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections