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Cosgrove Meehan Coal Company
Franco No. 1 Mine Explosion

Johnston City, Williamson County, Illinois
December 20, 1927
No. Killed - 7

Seven Die in Johnston City Mine
Decatur Review, Illinois
December 12, 1927

Johnston City, Ill., Dec. 21 -- (AP) -- The bodies of seven miners, killed last night in an explosion of gas in the Steritz Coal Mine near here, were brought to the surface today after all night work by three mine rescue teams.

Those killed were:
  • William Jones
  • David Anderson
  • Charles Wyatt
  • Fred Cagle
  • George Grubbs
  • G. Garrota
  • Almus Lavender
The 23 other members of the night crew of 30 made their escape by elevator, but the seven were trapped when their exit was blocked.  Ignition of gas was believed to have caused the explosion.

The Cosgrove Meehan Coal Company operates the mine, which is one of the largest in Williamson County and employs 500 men on the day shift.

Officers of the Cosgrove Meehan Coal Company of Chicago, which operates the mine, known as Franco No. 1, believed the explosion was caused by a spark from an electric motor used to operate a coal hoist from the entry where the seven miners were at work.  Lavender was the motorman.

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