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Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad
No. 16 Mine Explosions

Mineral, Cherokee County, Kansas
March 18, 1911
No. Killed - 5

USBM Final Investigation Report  (6.2 Mb)  PDF Format
Rescuer Deaths

A rescue party composed of John Jopling, Samuel Watson, and a foreign miner, rushed into the No. 16 mine of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad at Mineral, Kansas to search for Thomas Cheek and John Burgan.  Less than thirty minutes later, there was a third explosion which killed Jopling and his 2 men.

(From Bureau of Mines Report, by H. I. Smith)

Saturday evening between 5:30 and 6:45, 4 gas explosions occurred, 1 from a blast of powder and 3 from open lights, resulting in the death of 5 men and injuring 2 others.  Three of the dead and the 2 injured were in a rescue party.  One of the 3 men in the mine at the time of the first explosion escaped.  No rescue apparatus was used.

Coal was blasted from the solid with black powder; dynamite was used for brushing roof, Carbide lights and lard-oil torches were used for lights.  No flame safety lamps were used.  The mine was wet, muddy, and dirty as bottom was taken up.  Firedamp came through breaks in the coal from an old mine with which connection was expected on that night.  The other explosions were caused by rescuers entering with open lights.

A flame safety lamp was brought from another mine and on March 21, Bureau of Mines Draeger (1910) rescue apparatus Hobble electric lamps, and Wolf flame safety lamps were brought.

Five Men Killed in Coal Mine at Mineral, Kansas
Winnipeg Free Press, Manitoba
March 20, 1911

Pittsburg, Kan., March, 19. -- Five men, one of them John Jopling, general superintendent in the coal department of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad are dead as the result of an explosion of fire damp in the company's mine at Mineral, Kansas today.

There were three explosions, the first just after Thomas Cheek and John Burgan, shot firers, went into the mine to begin work.  Both were killed instantly.  The second explosion came when William Jeffries, another shot firer, went underground to rescue his fellow workers.  By lying flat on the ground a moment before the second explosion Jeffries saved himself.

As soon as he reached the surface, a rescue party composed of Jopling and two miners, Samuel Watson and a foreigner, rushed into the pit to search for Cheek and Burgan.  Less than thirty minutes later there was an explosion which killed Jopling and his men.

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