February Mine Disaster Anniversaries in 2021

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31 1

View the planets for this day1910
Mine Explosion
Browder, KY
No. Killed - 34


View the planets for this day1922
Gates No. 2
Mine Explosion
Brownsville, PA
No. Killed - 25

View the planets for this day1909
Short Creek
Mine Explosion
Short Creek, AL
No. Killed - 18


View the planets for this day1882
Mine Explosion
Coalfield, VA
No. Killed - 32

View the planets for this day1926
Horning No. 4
Mine Explosion
Horning, PA
No. Killed - 20


View the planets for this day1957
Bishop No. 34
Mine Explosion
McDowell Cty, WV
No. Killed - 37

View the planets for this day1907
Thomas No. 25
Mine Explosion
Thomas, WV
No. Killed - 25

View the planets for this day1891
Spring Mountain No. 1
Mine Inundation
Jeansville, PA
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1924
Mine Inundation
Crosby, MN
No. Killed - 41

View the planets for this day1910
Ernest No. 2
Mine Explosion
Ernest, PA
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1930
Mine Explosion
Standardville, UT
No. Killed - 23

View the planets for this day1915
Mine Explosion
Carlisle, WV
No. Killed - 22


View the planets for this day1923
Stag Canon No. 1
Mine Explosion
Dawson, NM
No. Killed - 120

View the planets for this day1906
Mine Explosion
Parral, WV
No. Killed - 23


View the planets for this day1911
Mine Explosion
Trinidad, CO
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1916
Ernest No. 2
Mine Explosion
Ernest, PA
No. Killed - 27


View the planets for this day1894
Roof Fall
Plymouth, PA
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1916
Mine Fire
Butte, MT
No. Killed - 21


View the planets for this day1883
Mine Inundation
Braidwood, IL
No. Killed - 69


View the planets for this day1915
Mine Explosion
Wilkes-Barre, PA
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1896
Mine Explosion
New Castle, CO
No. Killed - 49


View the planets for this day1906
Mine Explosion
Walsenburg, CO
No. Killed - 14


View the planets for this day1905
Virginia City
Mine Explosion
Virginia City, AL
No. Killed - 112

View the planets for this day1925
Mine Explosion
Sullivan, IN
No. Killed - 52

View the planets for this day1884
West Leisenring
Mine Explosion
West Leisenring, PA
No. Killed - 19

Mine Explosion
Parnassus, PA
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1918
Mine Cave-In
Crystal Falls, MI
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1911
Mine Fire
Tonapah, NV
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1928
Mama No. 3
Mine Explosion
Jenny Lind, AR
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1901
Diamondville 1
Mine Fire
Diamondville, WY
No. Killed - 26

View the planets for this day1917
North Star
Hailey, ID
No. Killed - 16


View the planets for this day1972
Buffalo Creek
Dam Failure
Saunders, WV
No. Killed - 114


View the planets for this day1943
Mine Explosion
Red Lodge, MT
No. Killed - 74

View the planets for this day1932
Mine Explosion
Boisevain, VA
No. Killed - 38

View the planets for this day1895
White Ash
Mine Explosion
Madrid, NM
No. Killed - 24

View the planets for this day1906
Piper No. 2
Mine Explosion
Piper, AL
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1902
Liberty Bell
Mine Avalanche
Telluride, CO
No. Killed - 19


Davis No. 42
Mine Explosion
Kempton, MD
No. Killed - 16

2 3 4 5 6

Did You Know? February has produced 72 mine disasters with 5 or more fatalities; 37 successful rescues (longest - 19 days); and the death of 32 rescuers in 13 incidents.

Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All February Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in February
1890 Nottingham Colliery Explosion, Plymouth, Pennsylvania — Fire Boss George Dunstan was the only man who could tell anything about the accident.  According to Dunstan, he was going from the sixth lift to the fifth.  When he got out in the passageway between the two lifts, he struck a body of gas.  His light ignited and he was thrown violently to the ground.  He managed to crawl to the gangway where he was rescued after an undisclosed period.
1891 13 miners died in Jeanesville, Pennsylvania after they were trapped by water in the Spring Mountain No. 1 Mine operated by J. C. Hayden and Company on February 4, 1891.  Four others were rescued 19 days later.  They were John Tomaskusky, Joe Mautchwitch, Bosso Franko, and John Berno.  Source documentExternal Link
Following the firing of a blast, water rushed into the Susquehanna Colliery at Grand Tunnel, Pennsylvania trapping Michael Schilling, William Cragel, and John Riner.  Freedom from the flooded mine came for the trio when rescuers found them after 115 hours.  They had to wait out the 4 days perched on a piece of timber 3 inches wide.  When found, the men were almost completely exhausted and would require care to bring them through.  Source documentExternal Link
1901 Linden Tree Mine Fire, Linden Tree, Ohio — For four hours, when egress for 40 miners became cut off due to smoke and gases, the miners carried water in their dinner buckets and threw it on the flames.  In the meantime, a rescuing party had been organized that fought the fire from the other side.  All were finally rescued without being injured.  Source document.  PDF Format
1903 Hostetler-Connellsville Coke Company Mine Explosion, Latrobe, Pennsylvania — Five miners were rescued after an undisclosed period following an explosion in the Hostetler-Connellsville Coke Company mine near Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  Source document.  PDF Format
1906 Parral Mine Explosion, Parral, West Virginia — After an undisclosed period following the explosion, rescuers removed twelve miners alive, but it was believed that most of them would die from their injuries.
1908 All but one of 28 men and boys who were entrapped in the Mid-Valley Colliery near Shamokin, Pennsylvania were rescued after 1 day.   Frank Orloskie, fell down a chute after the accident and was killed.   Source documentExternal Link
1910 Ernest No. 2 Mine Explosion, Ernest, Pennsylvania — Andy Kragear was overcome by the gas arising from the explosion.  A rescue party using an oxygen helmet rescued and brought him to the surface about 8 hours after the explosion.  Shortly afterward he gained consciousness and was able to tell where he boarded.  He was the only man in the mine in the vicinity of the explosion that escaped.
1912 With 140 rescuers tearing at the rock and earth blocking the shaft of the Bunker Hill Mine at Sutter Creek, California, freedom came at noon on February 8 for sixty-two miners trapped for 23 hours.  Wives and daughters of the trapped men held torches through the nights while rescuers assailed the jam.  Source documentExternal Link
Eddy Creek Mine Rescue, Dickson City, Pennsylvania — Michael Hudy was rescued by a searching party after being lost for 3 days in the Eddy Creek mine of the D & H Coal Company.   Hudy was found in an abandoned working, exhausted, starving, and lying in a ditch.  He could not explain how he lost his way. He was expected to recover.  Source document.  PDF Format
Western Coal and Iron No. 5 Mine Fire, McAlester, Oklahoma — Mexican youth, Reifne Rodriguez, was rewarded for his bravery by the United Mine Workers’ 21st district executive board.  When it was discovered that the No. 5 mine was on fire, Rodriguez ran through the workings warning all 100 workmen except for 9 of the danger allowing them to exit before the fire gained headway.  Nine miners died from suffocation in the fire.  For his bravery, the board authorized to set aside sufficient funds for the education of the young Mexican.  Source document.  PDF Format
1913 Draper Colliery Inundation, Gilberton, Pennsylvania — Three miners were imprisoned for 3 days and 3 nights when the Mahonoy River flooded the Draper Colliery near Gilberton, Pennsylvania.  The face of an old breast collapsed allowing the river to flow in upon them.  The rescued miners were Joseph Drobas, William Kokas, and John Servillas.  Source document.  PDF Format
1914 Cannon Mine Inundation — Andrew Churnick, 50, was killed by an inrush of water and gravel in No. 11 chute on the water level in the Gem seam.  His body was recovered 4 days later near the first crosscut in the No. 12 chute.  His partner, Mike Bobchurnick, was rescued after being imprisoned for 7 days near the 6th crosscut in the same chute.
1915 Explosion at Carlisle Mine, Carlisle, West Virginia – Twenty-one men were killed and four were rescued soon after the explosion by parties led by company officials.  One of the rescued men, suffering from burns, was sent to a hospital.  Source documentExternal Link
1916 Davis No. 42 Mine Explosion, Kempton, Maryland — Those not directly in range of the blast hurried to the main entries and started for the foot of the shaft in which the cages were still operating.  There they were met by rescue parties from the surface and quickly hoisted.  Other rescuers made their way into the mine and located other miners who had been unable to reach the main lines of communication.  These men were brought out after an undisclosed period.
1918 Amasa-Porter Mine Inundation, Crystal Falls, Michigan — Following an inundation of water in the Amasa-Porter Mine at Crystal Falls, Michigan, one miner was found unconscious by rescuers after an undisclosed period and brought to the surface.  Three others managed to escape unaided.
1924 Milford Mine Inundation, Crosby, Minnesota — Fourteen-year-old Frank Hrvatin was responsible for saving the lives of two men when a surface cave-in caused water to flood the Milford mine from nearby Foley Lake a few miles north of Crosby.  Frank reached the mine’s one vertical shaft and began to scurry up the ladder.  With water climbing fast, Frank wormed around an older miner, Harry Hosford.  But another exhausted miner, Matt Kangas, clogged their escape route.  Frank recalled the "superhuman strength" that took over and enabled him to squirm between Kangas’ legs and hoist the man rung-by-rung up to safety.  Then he reached back down and grabbed the wrist of Hosford, who was up to his waist in rising muck, hollering: "For God’s sakes, hurry!  The three miners were among only seven that got out.
1925 City Mine Explosion, Sullivan, Indiana — Emery Davidson of Sullivan was the first injured man to be brought from the workings after an undisclosed period.  He had a badly crushed chest, suffered when slate and rock loosened from the roof of the mine by the blast fell on him.
Low Ash Mine Rescue, Crown City, West Virginia — John Robinson was rescued in a semi-conscious condition after being lost for nine days in the Low Ash mine at Crown City, West Virginia.  Robinson had gone into the mine to repair a pump.  His carbide lamp fell into the water and being unfamiliar with the mine, he wandered aimlessly in the dark.  Source document.  PDF Format
1927 Joseph Schultz, a miner at the Henry Clay Colliery near Shamokin, Pennsylvania was entombed 4½ hours in a blind heading after a pillar crumbled when disturbed by a shot.   He was penned behind hundreds of tons of coal and rock in a space about 3 feet wide and 6 feet long.   Rescuers found him exhausted.   Source documentExternal Link
1928 One miner was found alive after an explosion at the Kinlock underground coal mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company in Parnassus, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.  The rescued miner was trapped for nearly 1 day.  12 miners were killed in this accident.  (Parnassus was later renamed New Kensington).
Mama No. 3 Mine Explosion, Jenny Lind, Arkansas — Immediately after the early morning explosion in the Mama No. 3 mine, every miner in the district and volunteers were hurriedly formed into rescue parties.  Shortly before noon, an entrance was blasted into the tomb where the miners were trapped and 105 men were rescued.  About 35 of these were injured in the explosion and others were suffering from the effects of gas.
Buck Run Colliery Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — After being shut in by a rush of coal in the Buck Run Colliery for 24 hours, John Drenosky was rescued and removed from the mine uninjured.  Source document.  PDF Format
Potts Colliery Cave-in, Ashland, Pennsylvania — Henry Knock, 51, was entombed for three hours in the Potts Colliery at Ashland, Pennsylvania.  He became trapped when falling timber caused the top to give way and close in on him.  Source document.  PDF Format
1930 Standard Coal Company, Standard Mine Explosion — Five were rescued by crews from nearby mining communities. The five, taken out after an undisclosed period, had bratticed themselves from the deadly gas fumes, far back in the workings and had left notes directing their rescuers where to find them.
1931 Powderly Colliery Roof Fall, South Carbondale, Pennsylvania — Two of the five Carbondale men, Frank Cretelli and Alex Docalavich, who were entombed in the Powderly colliery of the Hudson Coal Company, South Carbondale, at 10:30 o’clock yesterday morning, were rescued alive by fellow workmen.  Neither was seriously injured but both suffered greatly from shock following their removal from their hazardous positions in which they were forced to remain for more than seven hours.  The body of John Caruso, one of five men entombed was recovered and no trace has been found of John Rogish, 62, and Thomas Chadwick, 59, both of Carbondale.  Source document.  PDF Format
1934 Glen Rogers No. 2 Mine Explosion, Glen Rogers, West Virginia — 38 miners were rescued from behind a barricade several hours after an explosion in the Glen Rogers No. 2 mine in West Virginia. Four miners were killed in the incident.   Source document.  PDF Format
1936 Bird Camp Gold Mine Avalanche, Ouray, Colorado — 20 miners were trapped for 10 hours in a tunnel of the Bird Camp Gold Mine by an avalanche of snow.  Two men and a woman were killed when the avalanche roared down Devil’s Slide of Chicago Hill smashing a bunkhouse and closing the mouth of the mine tunnel.  Source document.  PDF Format
1937 Robert Johnson spent eight days without food in utter darkness in an abandoned Flemington, West Virginia coal mine.   Guided by his weak cries, Bill McDonald, Minor Cleavenger and Lon Smith found the man and brought him out on a stretcher.  Source documentExternal Link
1938 Lehigh Valley Mine Inundation, Jeanesville, Pennsylvania — Seven out of eight miners were rescued after being trapped for 18 hours in the flooded Lehigh Valley Coal Company mine at Jeanesville.  The eighth man, Paul Kuritz was found dead.  The rescued men were Michael Olexa, Joseph Fidishin, Stephen Stefranko, John Lavaraski, Andrew Havrilla, William Davis, and Paul Molnar.  Source document.  PDF Format
1943 Smith No. 3 Mine Explosion, Carbon County, Montana — As told in the book "Red Lodge Saga of a Western Area" by Shirley Zupan and Harry J. Owens, three miners were rescued from the Smith No. 3 mine disaster.  At the time of the explosion, Alex Hawthorne, Willard Reid and Eli Houtonen felt unusual pressure in their ears with no sound.  A terrible wind came at them from inside the mine, blowing debris.  Hawthorne reached a phone and sent word that something was wrong, and that he was coming out.  He was then overcome by gas.  Reid and Houtonen were knocked off their feet by the force of the wind.  Reid managed to get up and tried to waken Houtonen.  Guided by Reid's lamp, rescue men found the three and took them above ground.  The three survived the explosion; 74 others did not.
1949 Kittoe Mining Works Fire, Benton, Wisconsin — Fifteen miners were rescued after being trapped for seven hours by a fire which occurred in the engine room of the Kittoe Mining Works near Benton, Wisconsin.  The fire cut the men off from their 167-foot escape shaft to the mine head.  Except for one miner who suffered a slight heart attack, all the men remained calm throughout their ordeal.
1958 Glenn Burchett was rescued after a 6 hour roof fall entrapment in the Amherst Coal Company’s Lundale Mine at Morgantown Post, West Virginia.  Rescue workers using hydraulic jacks slowly and methodically lifted the fallen slate to a point where Burchett could be extricated.  Sadly, Burchett later died from his injuries.
1973 Ranger Fuel Company, Bolt, West Virginia — Five miners were rescued after 4 hours from the flooded Ranger Fuel Company mine at Bolt, WV.  The rescued miners were identified as Dennie Pauley, Otis Best, James Widensall, James Griffith Sr., and Jerry I. Lucas.  Four others had managed to escape.  Source documentExternal Link
1977 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Apollo, Pennsylvania — John R. Bazella helped to rescue Donald J. McCully from a cave-in, Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, February 8, 1977.  When a cave-in occurred in a coal mine, McCully, 46, was completely buried alongside a mining machine but was able to breathe because the shale and sandstone rock that had fallen was partially supported by collapsed wooden beams.  Bazella, 31, coal mine mechanic, and other workmen gathered to assist in the rescue of McCully.  After another machine had removed enough rocks to uncover the end of the collapsed boom of the mining machine, a tunnel was dug by hand alongside the boom.  It was necessary to cut through a fallen beam along the way as, with the men crawling in and out, the careful removal of rocks finally extended the tunnel to McCully.  Rocks were removed from around him.  As a result of the efforts of Bazella and the other men, McCully then was pulled from under the rock fall via the tunnel.  For their bravery, Mr. Bazella, Clayton R. Wall, Vincent J. Shilobod, Thomas V. Damico, and Lawrence P. Rankin were given the Carnegie Hero Award.  Source documentExternal Link
1977 Dry Lake No. 4 Mine Cave-in, Cranks Creek, Kentucky — Robert Jones, 28, was rescued after his 8-hour entrapment in the No. 4 mine of the Dry Lake Coal Company.  Another miner was injured, hospitalized and listed in fair condition.  According to reports, Jones received a concussion, but was otherwise in good condition.  Source document.  PDF Format
1995 Solvay Minerals Trona Mine Rescue, Green River, Wyoming — Two miners were rescued after becoming lost when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit the area.  The first miner was lifted to safety after a day and was in good condition at a hospital.  The second miner was rescued after nearly two days.  He suffered a heart attack as he was being lifted out of the mine and died hours later.  Source document.  PDF Format

Rescuer Deaths in February
1899 Diamondville No. 1 Mine Asphyxiations, Diamondville, Wyoming — Ten brave men were risking their lives endeavoring to reopen the Diamondville No. 1 coal mine.  They were all knocked down, one by one, by blackdamp.  When help arrived, two were already dead, and the others were resuscitated with great difficulty.  The names of the dead are John L. Russell and Lee Wright.  Source documentExternal Link
1902 Liberty Bell Mine Avalanche, Telluride, Colorado — As many as 3 rescuers were killed when a second avalanche hit the Liberty Bell mine at Telluride.  In all, 19 miners were killed on February 28 when the buildings and equipment were smashed and lives were dashed by 4 separate snow slides.
1907 Thomas No. 25 Mine Explosion, Thomas, West Virginia — A rescue party of 7 men entered the mine and were exploring for survivors.  They had penetrated as far as the third heading when suddenly the current of air died away.  The motor which operated the large fan above the entrance had burned out.  Now exposed to the blackdamp, 4 of these men were quickly overcome.  Dan R. Jones died from asphyxiation and the other 3 were removed by re-enforcements and revived under the treatment of physicians.
1909 Zeigler Mine Explosion, Zeigler, Illinois — During recovery operations following a fire at this mine, an explosion occurred and three men were killed instantly.
1911 Cokedale Mine Explosion, Trinidad, Colorado — On February 9, 1911, E. A. Sutton, assistant superintendent of the Cokedale mine of the Carbon Coal & Coke Company, Carbondale, Colorado, lost his life while wearing a Dräger helmet-type oxygen breathing apparatus after an explosion in this mine in which 17 men were killed.  It is believed that this was the first instance in the United States, wherein a person died while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus.  In the same incident, Robert Meek, a volunteer rescuer, also lost his life.  Meek fell unconscious from blackdamp after venturing ahead of the air circuit.  He died a few minutes after he was carried out of the mine.  Source document.  PDF Format
Belmont Mine Fire, Tonopah, Nevada — William A. "Big Bill" Murphy, a 28-year-old cage operator, twice successfully descended into the Belmont Mine inferno to bring confused and unconscious co-workers to the surface.  Said to say "he was nearly done in," he made his third descent into the mine.  This would be his last.  In 2006, a statue was erected and dedicated in Tonopah to "Big Bill," the hero of the Belmont Mine Fire.
1916 Pennsylvania Mine Fire, Superior, Arizona — Approximately 195 men were hoisted to the surface in less than 45 minutes after the discovery of the fire.  Six men escaped through the 1,000-foot level to the Tramway mine.  Subsequently, two men lost their lives while wearing Dräger apparatus during rescue and recovery work.
1918 Carthage Fuel Company, Mine Exploration Fatality, Carthage, New Mexico — On February 26, 1918, David Murphy, an experienced mine rescue volunteer from Dawson, New Mexico, lost his life while wearing a Fleuss mouthpiece-type oxygen breathing apparatus during an exploration trip in the Government mine of the Carthage Fuel Company, Carthage, New Mexico.
1921 Sahara No. 8 Mine Explosion, Illinois — Three men lost their lives by suffocation in oxygen apparatus while opening a fire sealed area to see if the fire was extinguished.  The oxygen of one of the three-man crew was fully consumed and the two other men used up all their oxygen in attempted rescue of the one man who went down.
1926 Nelson Mine Explosion, Nelson Creek, Kentucky — Immediately after the blast, Cecil Fulkerson, manager, led a squad of rescue men into the pit.  With him were Archie and Leonard Huter and George Brandon, Jr., whose fathers were killed in the explosion.  Archie Huter, Brandon, and two others were asphyxiated by blackdamp.  Fulkerson and Leonard Huter were overcome by the gas and their condition was serious.
1930 Standard Mine Explosion, Standardville, Utah — The three men in the connected No. 3 mine were killed by the forces, and 17 of those in No. 1 mine died in the afterdamp.  Five of the men in No. 1 mine successfully barricaded themselves and were rescued.  Three men of a fresh air crew were killed by a falling roof slab on February 7.  Source documentExternal Link
1943 C. F. H. (Mulcahy) Mine Cave-in, Shullsburg, Wisconsin — Two of the victims were buried in an initial collapse, which occurred while they were preparing to shoot down a section of the rock suspected of being weak.  Six others were buried in a second cave-in, which occurred while they were attempting to dig out the bodies of the first two men.
Smith No. 3 Mine Explosion, Bearcreek Mountain, Montana — One rescuer later succumbed from the toxic gas, after spending days looking for the miners.
1958 Unnamed Mine Avalanche, Ouray, Colorado — Walter Alton Smith died while aiding in an attempt to rescue Edward L. Mason following an avalanche, Ouray, Colorado, February 14, 1958.  While Mason, 44, assistant mine foreman, was making his way to a mining camp through snow on a road in a mountain canyon, an avalanche occurred, burying him in a bank of snow 20 feet deep that covered the road for 500 feet.  Another man some distance behind him was caught at the edge of the avalanche but succeeded in digging himself out.  He made his way to the camp a mile and a half away and summoned help.  Despite the threat of a four-month accumulation of snow in dangerous slide areas on the mountains, Smith, 46, mine foreman, and another man, each operating a bulldozer, began clearing the road to the snow bank, aided by a miner who used a probing pole to determine depths.  Nearly three hours later, one of the bulldozers ceased to function within 600 feet of the snow bank.  As the three men discussed further action, a second and larger avalanche began at the mountain crest 2,800 feet above them.  Smith and the two other men ran along the road in an effort to escape the snow surging swiftly down the mountainside, but all were buried in a snow bank as much as 30 feet deep covering the road for 1,500 feet.  Rescue parties recovered their bodies six days later.  Mason’s body was located the next day.  Walter Smith was posthumously bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his brave attempts.  Source documentExternal Link

Mine Accident Research Documents
Successful Mine Rescues  (MS Word format)
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains hundreds of successful rescues in the United States.  See more.  
Successful Mine Rescue Durations  (MS Excel format)
This MS Excel file contains a chronological list of more than 400 successful rescues from 1846 to the present.  Each rescue event listed contains a web or document link to additional information about the event.
Incidents of Rescuer Death  (MS Word format)
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains more than 100 incidents of rescuer death in the United States.  See more.  
Carnegie Hero Award Recipients  (MS Excel format)
Inspired by the bravery that Daniel A. Lyle and Selwyn M. Taylor External Link displayed at the Harwick Mine Disaster in 1904, Andrew Carnegie started the Carnegie Hero Fund External Link.  The file linked here includes awardees associated with mining along with additional resources which you may find interesting.
Children Killed in Mine Accidents (MS Excel format)
This is a compilation of more than 80 incidents involving the death of children in mines.  Source documentation links are provided.  See more.  
Women in Mine Accidents (MS Excel format)
This is a compilation of more than 50 incidents involving the death of women in mines.  Source documentation links are provided.  See more.  
Loss of Life Among Wearers of Oxygen Breathing Apparatus
From 1911 to 1940, 26 men lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus.
And many, many more . . .