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Morgan Coal Mining Corporation
Red Tail No. 2 Mine Fire

Bethesda, Belmont County, Ohio
September 14, 1966
No. Killed - 3

USBM Final Investigation Report  (2.9 Mb)  PDF Format
Three men were killed in a fire initiated by a short circuit in the trailing cable of the mining machine when the cable was run upon by the left front wheel of the machine.

Mine Disaster Kills Three
Logansport Pharos Tribune, Indiana
September 15, 1966

Bethesda, Ohio (UPI) -- State mine officials today decided to seal a raging mine fire and with it the three miners believed dead inside.

Lester Zimmerman, head of the State Mines Bureau, announced the decision at 7:25 a.m. EDT. Workers immediately began sealing the mine.
"We can't get in," Zimmerman said.  "Two rescue teams have risked their lives with no success.  We feel now the men are absolutely dead and we can't risk the rescuers' lives any longer."
The miners were entombed more than 1,000 feet from the entrance to the mine at noon Wednesday by a raging fire, ignited by a short circuit in a cable connected to a cutting machine.

Earlier today, a huge digging machine broke through into the burning mine but heavy smoke forced rescuers to give up the search.

Zimmerman said a second rescue team attempted about 7 a.m. to enter the mine through a 200-foot tunnel drilled into the wall.
"The second team confirmed what the first team had found -- at the end of the hole they could see only smoke and the edge of the mine wall."
He said the air inside the room where the rescuers had tunneled was heavily contaminated with carbon dioxide.

The decision to seal the mine came after about an hour and a half of trying to suck the dense smoke from the mine.  The effort failed.

There were 15 men in the mine, owned by the Morgan Mine Company, when the fire broke out.  Twelve made their way to safety.

Trapped inside are:
  • Keith Spicer, 22, of near Dillonville, Ohio
  • Tony Territti, 43, Wheeling, W. Va.
  • William Adams, 33, Barnesville, Ohio
"It looks hopeless," said Lester Zimmerman, head of the state mines bureau.

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