Mine Safety Training Repository
united states mine rescue association
Mine Disasters in the United States

Tank's Poetry

Father Time
See more disasters
from this year
Calendar Image
Mine Disaster Calendar

Shoal Creek Coal Company
Panama Mine Explosion

Panama, Montgomery County, Illinois
April 5, 1915
No. Killed - 11

1915 Illinois Dept. of Mines Annual Report  PDF Format
Ten are Now Dead
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Illinois
April 6, 1915

Greenville, April 6. -- Ten bodies have been recovered from the Panama coal mine at Panama, 15 miles north of Greenville, following a gas explosion in the mine at 7 o'clock yesterday.  One other miner is known to have been killed, but his body has not been brought out.

The dead are:
  • Joe Renner
  • Joe Milhalich
  • Andrew Sayben
  • Dave Thomas
  • Joseph Fritz
  • Thomas Fritz
  • Joe Stella
  • Bettista Cavain
  • Peter Stella
  • Louis Stella
  • Theodore H. Burns
The body of Burns has not been recovered.

The explosion was the third that has occurred in the mine in the last five years.  Six men were killed in an explosion in November, 1910 and two men lost their lives in an explosion a year later.

A shift of several hundred men was being sent to the bottom of the mine when the explosion occurred.

Those who had not entered the mine, with those who escaped after the explosion, promptly started the rescue work.

The rescue parties risked their lives in search of their companions, and several were overcome by afterdamp.  They were taken to the surface and revived with oxygen.  One of the rescue party was unconscious several hours.

Burns, whose body still remains in the mine, is thought to have been one of the first of the dead miners to enter the entry where the explosion took place.  He was carrying a torch.

The body of Benner was the first to be brought to the surface.  Two other miners who were with him were unconscious when the rescuers reached them.  They were revived.

Some of the bodies brought out were charred and mangled beyond recognition and could be identified only by the clothing.  The search for victims was continued through the day without a minute's abatement.

Some of the victims were killed outright by the explosion and others died from inhaling the blackdamp.

The mine is owned by the Shoal Creek Coal Company of Chicago and employs from 500 to 600 men.

See more about these products