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Mine Disasters in the United States

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Wheeling Steel Corporation
Benwood Mine Explosion

Benwood, Marshall County, West Virginia
April 28, 1924
No. Killed - 119

USBM Final Investigation Report  (462 Kb)  PDF Format

Listen:  Benwood Mine Explosion  

(From Bureau of Mines report by J. W. Paul)

At 7:10 a.m. as the day-shift men reached their working places an explosion killed all of the 119 men in the mine.

The 2 firebosses had reported the mine free of gas and had returned with the men.  A miner found a fall of 8 feet of roof 22 feet from the room face.  Thinking that the fall had been examined by the fireboss, he went over it and ignited gas.

The mine was dry and dusty, and the explosion carried through every part of the mine.  The recovery work was very difficult, as the main entry from the bottom of the hoisting shaft was caved by roof falls for over 4,000 feet.

Entrance was made by the new airshaft, which was not accessible by road and which was not equipped with a hoist.

Breathing apparatus was kept in reserve and gas masks were used for most of the advance work.  Although the mine was gassy, open lights were used before the explosion, and sprinkling and ventilation were inadequate.  Better ventilation would have been provided when the connections to the airshaft were completed.

The chief inspector of the State recommended rock dusting, use of electric caplamps, and permissible equipment in all mines in the State in which gas was present.

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I

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