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Mine Disasters in the United States


P and P Coal Incorporated
P and P No. 2 Mine Explosion

St. Charles, Lee County, Virginia
July 7, 1977
No. Killed - 4

MSHA Final Investigation Report  (3.8 Mb)  PDF Format

Three workmen and a foreman were killed when an explosion occurred in this mine.  Investigators believe that an explosive mixture of methane was ignited by a cigarette lighter found at the accident scene.


An explosion occurred at approximately 10:00 a.m., July 7, 1977, in the 1 Left Section off "C" Mains of the No. 2 mine, P and P Coal Company, Incorporated, St. Charles, Lee County, Virginia.  Three workmen and a foreman who were in the area at the time of the explosion were killed.  Sixteen other persons in other areas of the mine when the explosion occurred escaped to the surface uninjured.

MSHA investigators conclude that the explosion originated at or near the rubber-tired mine car located approximately 125 feet outby the face of the No. 2 entry.  An explosive mixture of methane had accumulated because of insufficient ventilation and was ignited by a cigarette lighter that was found at the accident scene.  Forces from the explosion extended through the 1 Left Section and into the 2 Left and 3 Left entries off "C" Mains and dissipated near the No. 3 belt drive approximately 3,500 feet from point of ignition.  The explosion forces dislodged posts and destroyed stoppings 900 feet outby the faces of 1 Left.

The deceased:
  • Harold Johnson, 33
  • Billy W. Perkins, 30
  • Daniel Tester, 28
  • Harold R. Wells, 27




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