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Black Mountain Coal Corporation
Mine No. 30 Explosives Detonation

Kenvir, Harlan County, Kentucky
May 22, 1928
No. Killed - 8

USBM Final Investigation Report  (3.4 Mb)  PDF Format

Seven Killed in Mine Explosion
Charleston Gazette, West Virginia
May 24, 1928

Harlan, Ky., May 23. (AP) -- The accidental explosion of a box of percussion caps which set off a load of dynamite was said today to have caused last night's explosion in the Kenvir coal mine.  It cost at least seven lives and threatened 75 other workers, whom, however, are believed to have escaped except one, who is missing.

Eight men saved their lives by erecting a brattice or barrier, that held back the gas and fumes that followed the explosion.  The others came out of an outlet at the rear of the mine.  The explosion occurred about 1,000 feet from the main entrance about 6:45 p.m. and the fact that the day shift of approximately 600 men already had left, probably prevented the casualties from being larger.  Property loss was estimated at only around $20,000.

One of the dead was Frank Chow, 42, chief electrician at the mine which is owned by the Black Mountain Coal Corporation.  He was not on duty but rushed into the mine when the explosion occurred.

The other dead were:
  • Asher Hall, 47, night foreman
  • Clay Quintrell, 35, electrician
  • B. M. Hagard, 35, electrician
  • Elmore Leach, 22, miner
  • Louis Fogerty, 25, laborer
  • Samuel Edwards, 37, a track layer
All were married.

The first of the bodies was brought out early today, after a rescue crew of seven from the King-Harlen Coal Company, had been overcome by gas and brought out by a Fordson Coal Company crew that had donned masks.  Rescue crews were expected to continue clearing away the debris until it could be determined definitely whether any other miners had been entombed.

The mine was opened in 1917, and produces approximately 3,000 tons daily.

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