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Francisco Coal Company
Francisco No. 2 Mine Explosion and Fire

Francisco, Gibson County, Indiana
December 9, 1926
No. Killed - 37

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Fire Prevents All Efforts to Rescue Three Men
Linton Daily Citizen, Indiana
December 10, 1926

Princeton, Ind., Dec. 10. -- Fire raging in the depths of the Francisco Coal Company, ordered the mine sealed the abandonment of further attempts to locate three men still listed as missing in the check of casualties from yesterday's gas explosion.

With smoke pouring from the top of the mine shaft and the peril from the fire increasing momentarily for the rescuers working below, the men were ordered from the shaft.

After a conference with W. G. Powell, federal mine inspector located at Evansville, officials of the Francisco Coal Company ordered the mine sealed to check the fire.

They were unwilling to risk the lives of the volunteer workers further in an attempt to recover the bodies of the three missing.  There had been no hope of recovering the three alive since last night.

The three missing were:
  • Walter Thomas, of Evansville
  • Claude Wright, of Francisco
  • Emery West, of Oakland City
The bodies of S. Roll, of Evansville, and W. P. Ratliff, of Francisco, two of the five missing in the mine when rescuers resumed their work, were found shortly before 8 a.m. today.

It was found impossible to bring the bodies of Roll and Ratliff out of the mine when the fire spread.

Unless there are further deaths among the badly injured, the toll of dead will be 28, according to mine officials.

The bodies of 21 were removed from the mine, two died today in the Princeton Hospital and five were left in the mine.

The revised list of injured numbered 28 names.  The list accounted for the 71 who entered the mine yesterday as: Dead, 28; injured 28; escaped unhurt, 15.

It may be a month or more before the mine can be unsealed and explored for the rest of the bodies, officials said.

In morgues at Princeton embalmers worked far into the night preparing bodies of the dead for burial.  Funerals of a number of victims will be held Saturday and others are to be buried Sunday.

The explosion was the worst disaster that has visited the mining district of Indiana since early in 1925, when 52 miners were killed by a blast in the City mine at Sullivan.

The casualty list in the gas explosion at Mine No. 2 of the Francisco Coal Company, near here, follows:
  • T. W. Byrd, 58, Princeton
  • Loren Bailey, 21, Francisco
  • Lloyd Jenkins, 27, Francisco
  • William James, 20, Francisco
  • Wes Lewis, 55, Fort Branch
  • W. H. McCannon, 48, Princeton
  • J. H. Turner, 65, (colored) Princeton
  • Wm. Cassiday, 48, Princeton
  • James Gates, 55, Princeton
  • Claude Stone, 31, Oakland City
  • Vic Hulett, 35, Oakland City
  • Frank Helsley, 32, Francisco
  • John Driskell, 54, Princeton
  • John Ireland, 24, Francisco
  • Everett Sadler, 35, Princeton
  • Roy Shaw, 25, Oakland City
  • Earl Gates, 32, Princeton
  • J. H. Creech, 30, Oakland City
  • Ollie Roll, 30, Evansville
  • Fred James, 40, Francisco
  • S. J. Roll, 58, Evansville
  • W. P. Ratliff, 40, Francisco
Missing In Mine (Presumed Dead):
  • Walter Thomas, 47, Evansville
  • Claude Wright, 35, Francisco
  • Emery West, 47, Oakland City
  • Jesse Clark, Princeton
  • Ledford King, Francisco
  • Harkey Snow, Francisco
  • Jacob Schaefer, Princeton
  • John Wilson, Francisco
  • Edward Pancake, Francisco
  • Virgil Hooker, Fort Branch
  • Manford Selby, Winslow
  • Basil Rutherford, Francisco
  • Albert Borer, Princeton
  • Thomas Wilson, Francisco
  • Clifford Biel, Fort Branch
  • Charles All, Sullivan
  • Eugene Cox, Francisco
  • Oscar Reinhart, Princeton
  • Roe Hugh, Princeton
  • Rufus Steinhall, Francisco
  • Marvin Scott, Sturgis, Ky.
  • George Black, Princeton
  • Arvil Slater, Oakland City
  • John L. Heiman, Evansville
  • Charles Towers, Princeton
  • Harry Slater, Oakland City
  • August Feldman, Evansville
  • W. M. Slater, Oakland City
  • Milo Dorsett, Princeton
  • William Bass, Francisco
  • Charles Cooper, Francisco
  • Alvis Heath, Princeton
(So far as is known the only man among the killed or injured who lived or formerly lived in Linton is Alvis Heath.  He is the father-in-law of Carl Poe, of this city, and is reported among the injured.)

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