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Consolidated Coal Company
Lake Creek Mine Explosion

Johnston City, Williamson County, Illinois
September 29, 1922
No. Killed - 5

Successful Rescue

Seven miners were imprisoned for an undisclosed period following the Lake Creek Mine Explosion in Johnston City, Illinois, but were taken from the shaft by rescue teams hastily called.  The seven men had taken refuge in another entry and by doing this prevented the gas from killing them.

Five are Killed, Three Injured in Coal Mine Blast
Joplin Globe, Missouri
September 30, 1922

Johnston City, Ill., Sept. 29. -- Five men, three mine surveyors and two miners, were killed and three miners were injured slightly in an explosion in the Lake Creek mine, one and a half miles northeast of here this afternoon.

The dead:
  • Paul Best, surveyor, 25, married, Collinsville, Ill.
  • Lee Bailey, surveyor, 25, single, Collinsville, Ill.
  • Harry Shaw, 30, surveyor, married, two children, Collinsville, Ill.
  • Marcus Kolovitch, miner, 40, family of five, Johnston City, Ill.
  • Pete Castrola, miner, single, Johnston City, Ill.
The injured include James Gower, 35, and Ed Jenkins, 55, miners, who were slightly overcome by gas.  The name of the third person injured could not be learned.

About 350 men were at work in the mine when the explosion occurred and all but five of them were rescued.  Several miners, including the three killed, were imprisoned for a short while, but were taken from the shaft by rescue teams hastily called.

The explosion is believed by mine officials to have taken place when the three surveyors, carrying oil burning lamps on their caps, went into an unused entry in which a gas pocket had formed.  The two miners were digging coal near this entry.

The noise made by the explosion, which the officials said resulted when the gas pocket was ignited by the lamps, was heard throughout the mine, and all but twelve of the 350 men rushed to the shaft and ascended the mine mouth before any of the escaping gas could overtake them.

A rescue team was summoned immediately from Herrin, Ill., and with local volunteers descended the shaft and found seven men overcome by gas and the five bodies.  The seven men had taken refuge in another entry and by doing this prevented the gas from killing them.  The bodies and the seven imprisoned men then were brought to the surface.  State Mine Examiner Morgan directed the rescuers and he, himself, went into the shaft.

Drawn to the mouth of the pit by the deafening noise of the explosion, hundreds of men, women and children were overjoyed when most of their relatives, for whose safety they had feared, came streaming out of the shaft immediately after the explosion.

An official investigation to determine the cause of the explosion will be held tomorrow.

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