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Mine Disasters in the United States

Peabody Coal Company
No. 47 Mine Explosion

Harco, Illinois
December 28, 1941
No. Killed 8

Eight Killed in Mine Explosion
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Illinois
December 29, 1941

Harco, Ill., Dec. 29. -- An electric spark from a power switchboard was believed today to have caused an explosion which killed eight men and injured two as they were leaving an abandoned shaft of the Peabody Coal Company mine 47.

"Marsh gas," common to coal mines, was believed to have been ignited, resulting in the explosion.

The crew of 18 had worked through Saturday night removing machinery from the shaft 400 feet below the surface. They had left the shaft when the blast caught them at 3:15 a.m., Sunday.

Frank Dietz and C. M. Phelps, who were in another part of the mine, escaped with injuries described as not serious. Harold Holden, 30, a mine inspector employed by the company, was among those killed.

Four state mine rescue squads aided in bringing the bodies to the surface. Seven of the dead were taken from the mine Sunday afternoon and Holden's body was recovered about 10 p.m. After the bodies were brought out, workers at once set about clearing the mine of gas and debris and to repair the ventilating system.

Coroner Earl Thornton said an inquest would be held Wednesday at the court house in Harrisburg at 7 p.m.  Two rescue crews working in alternate shifts labored for nine hours before any of the bodies were found. Nearly 500 persons including the wives and children of the trapped miners, waited at the mine entrance.

The dead:
  • Harold Holden, 30, mine inspector
  • McCoy Cobb, 36
  • Orvil Daugherty, 40
  • William Strange, 46
  • Roy Donaldson
  • John Fletcher, 49
  • Charles Pemberton, 30
  • Harold Smith, 40

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