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Oliphant-Johnson Coal Company
Oliphant-Johnson No. 1 Mine Explosion

Bruceville, Knox County, Indiana
December 19, 1916
No. Killed - 2

Successful Rescue

42 miners were rescued from behind two barricades 2 hours after an explosion in the Oliphant-Johnson No. 1 Mine at Bruceville, Indiana.  There were 25 miners in one group and 17 in another.  Two miners were killed in this incident.  Source document  PDF Format

After an explosion of gas ignited by an open lamp in No. 1 mine of the Oliphant-Johnson Coal Co. near Bruceville, Ind., on December 19, 1916, 25 men gathered in the entries near the face of the main east entry.

They erected three board stoppings after opening a door between the main east aircourse and the haulage road to protect themselves from possible reversal of the air current later.

First, they stretched brattice cloth across the place selected; then they made a double wall 2 feet wide of timber and refuse and filled in the space with coal and other relatively finely divided material.

Building this wall required about 20 minutes.  All lamps were then put out, and the partly spent, partly wetted carbide from the lamps was emptied and covered with coal and dust.  Then men took turns in pounding on the rib and face to signal possible rescuers.

They were rescued by a fire boss 2 hours later, after the mine air had partly cleared.  Their rescue at this time was fortunate because the barricaded section was small and contained relatively little air; moreover, gas was given off freely by the strata, and all the men probably would have suffocated within 10 hours.

Another group of 17 men gathered in a room and built a barricade of gob that so resembled a working face that a rescue party 2 hours later passed it and looked at it only when voices were heard coming from behind it.

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