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Progressive Coal Company
No. 11 Mine Explosion

McCurtain, Haskell County, Oklahoma
October 20, 1922
No. Killed - 8

Gas Traps Thirteen in Oklahoma Coal Mine
The New York Times, New York
October 21, 1922

McCurtain, Okla., Oct. 20 -- With nine dead as the result of a gas explosion which wrecked mine No. 11 of the Progressive Coal Company near here today, steps were under way tonight by Federal and State officials for a thorough investigation of the cause of the blast.

The victims are:
  • F. E. Seaton, President of the company
  • A. C. Greenwald
  • John Sanders
  • W. A. Taylor
  • Walter Brasher
  • Bob Edwards
  • Mark Krause
  • A. T. Ervine
  • Burl Sprouse
Those injured:
  • Claude Everett
  • Henry Warner
  • Joe Perrington
  • Roy Caldwell
Everett is believed to be fatally injured.

Preliminary investigation had not shown the cause of the explosion, but it is believed that a shot fired by one of the thirteen men in the mine to loosen the coal caused the blast.  Another explanation given by the survivors is that the gas became ignited from a lamp worn by F. E. Seaton, fire boss of the mine, who was killed by the explosion.

Rescue squads reached the entombed men shortly after the blast, as the mine is shallow.  When first reports of the disaster reached McCurtain and surrounding territory, hundreds of persons rushed to the scene and assisted in the work of rescue.

The wrecked mine was a slope, built through an abandoned strip pit in which coal was found about 500 feet from the opening.  The explosion tore down the interior for a distance of nearly 100 yards.  Fire did not follow the blast.  The McCurtain coal field is located thirty-five miles west of Fort Smith, on the Fort Smith & Western Railway, and has been noted for its dangerous gases.

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