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Mine Disasters in the United States

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
Edgewater Mine Explosion

Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
July 30, 1948
No. Killed - 11

USBM Final Investigation Report  (2.4 Mb)  PDF Format

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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At Least 3 Killed in Alabama Mine
Charleston Gazette, West Virginia
July 31, 1948

Birmingham, Ala., July 30. -- (AP) -- Rescue workers in the depths of Edgewater mine reported tonight finding two more bodies in an area ripped this morning by a gas explosion. The toll thus reached three dead and 12 injured, two critically.

A company spokesman said two to four miners were still missing in the big coal mine operated by the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company.

The blast was in the deepest section of the mine, approximately four miles from the shaft entrance and 300 feet underground.

Miners at the scene said earlier that possibly from 12 to 30 men were believed trapped. But as the day progressed, mine officials checked each of the 300 employed on the morning shift until they had narrowed the missing down to a handful.

Seven are Killed in Alabama Mine Blast
Morning Avalanche, Lubbock, Texas
July 31, 1948

Birmingham, Ala., July 30. (AP) -- A gas explosion that ripped through a remote section of the big Edgewater coal mine near here early today killed seven miners and injured 12, two of them critically.

The dead were listed as Simon Pentz, 61 year old assistant mine foreman; John Starnes, 62, ventilation inspector; Alvin Kenneth McGahn, 25; William Gregg, 38; Eddie Jones, 18; Sand Gary, 43, and James Jordan, 33.  The last four are Negroes.

A company spokesman said two or three miners were still missing.

Ninth Miner Dies After Explosion
Portland Sunday Telegram and Press Herald, Maine
August 1, 1948

Birmingham, Ala., July 31 (AP) -- The ninth victim of a gas explosion in the big Edgewater coal mine died today.  Three others were injured two critically.

Rescue crews brought out five bodies Friday night after fighting their way through debris to the blast scene about four miles from the mine entrance and 300 feet underground.

The first body was brought to the surface about noon Friday.  Two more died in the hospital Friday night and another early this morning.  The ninth man Ernest Franks, 28, succumbed in a local hospital late today.

The dead included Simen Pentz, 61, assistant mine foreman and John Starnes, 62, a ventilation inspector.

A company spokesman said a pocket of gas apparently was set off near the junction of a new ventilation shaft with an old areaway.  Cause of Friday's explosion was not determined.  About 50 men were working in the vicinity.  Most escaped through an air shaft and others trapped by gas, were brought to safety by rescue workers.

The big Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company mine is located nine miles west of Birmingham.

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