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Mine Disasters in the United States


Central Coal and Iron Company
Central Mine Explosives Detonation

Central City, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
January 19, 1912
No. Killed – 5

USBM Final Investigation Report  (1.5 Mb)  PDF Format
(From Bureau of Mines Report, by C. S. Stevenson)

At 5:30 p.m. all of the 5 men in the mine were killed by an explosion caused by a blown-out shot of black powder.  Three of the men were shot firers and 2 were day men who stayed in the mine to bond track.

The explosion was local but was propagated by gas and dust and the ignition of 4 cans of black powder.  The coal was partly undercut by pick mining in some places, but most of the shooting was on the solid.

A rescue party led by the State mine inspector and using 2 sets of Draeger (1910) apparatus and a pulmotor entered the mine soon after the explosion.  They were able to restore the ventilation without use of the breathing apparatus until the air current was unexpectedly shut off and the party was overcome.  One man was able to reach the apparatus where it had been left on the main entry and revive himself and direct a second rescue partly to the unconscious men who were saved by the use of the helmets and oxygen from the extra cylinders.

It was found that the air current had been cut off by one of the shot firers who had escaped the explosion but was trapped by the afterdamp.  He put up a curtain across the 1st S. entry to try to hold back the afterdamp but fell and died after traveling 600 feet toward the main south.  He was found next morning when rescue efforts were resumed.


Explosion Kills 5 Miners in Kentucky Coal Shaft
Indianapolis Star, Indiana
January 18, 1912

Central City, Ky., Jan. 17. -- Four persons are known to have been killed and another is believed to be dead as a result of an explosion in a mine of the Central City Coal and Iron Company, about 5 o'clock this afternoon.  Four bodies have been removed.  The explosion occurred just after the day men had come out.  The cause is unknown.  The mine is not badly damaged.

Two hundred men usually are at work in the mine, but the explosion came soon after the day's shift had come out and before the night men had gone down.  The five victims were doing extra work.  Assistant State Mine Inspector H.D. Jones is on the ground.

Three of the men whose bodies were recovered were Ira Allen, William Moss and Eric Lundquist.

The Central Coal and Iron Company’s workings is one of the properties recently consolidated with sixteen others in Kentucky by the Dupont interests.



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