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Mine Disasters in the United States


W. P. Rend Coal and Coke Company
Rend No. 2 Mine Explosion

Herrin, Williamson County, Illinois
June 2, 1917
No. Killed 9

An explosion occurred in the W. P. Rend Mine No. 2, about three miles north of Herrin, June 2, 1917, killing nine men.

This was a very wet mine.  The night shift was chiefly a material supply shift although other essential work was done, such as some coal preparation at occasional working faces, and the pumping of water.

On the night of the explosion, a night shift crew was salvaging approximately 100 yards of unused entry track from a worked-out panel, the entrance to which was badly caved and partly choked with fallen rock.  Near the entrance on the used haulage road was a door to force air into the area being salvaged.

The crew was at work, taking up the track, when the explosion occurred.  Evidently the door had been left open and the gas backed from more interior regions to the location where the men were working.  It was a very strong gas explosion, blowing out the door and knocking out timbers.  Falls of rock occurred at once.  One of these pinned a victim in an erect position against a wall.  That body was the last to be found, the rock fall being a foot or two higher than the man's head.

Coal dust added but little to the explosion force because of the dampness.  Most of the explosive force was in the immediate vicinity, although force was felt by other members of the night shift more than half a mile away.

The records showed that an inspection had been made for gas and the working area was safe.  Open lights were used.  The crew had a gas testing safety lamp.


(From the 1917 Annual Illinois Coal Report)

June 2, 1917, an explosion of gas occurred in the W. P. Rend Coal & Coke Company's mine, Herrin, Williamson County, in which nine men lost their lives.  Their names are as follows:
  • Ezra Adams, age 38 years, laborer, married, leaves a widow
  • John Gassage, age 30 years, laborer, single
  • J. S. Good, age 32 years, laborer, married, leaves a widow
  • Amos Mezo, age 35 years, laborer, married, leaves a widow and three children
  • Otis Reynolds, age 20 years, laborer, single; Ira Sanders, age 35 years, night boss, married, leaves a widow
  • Charles Rice, age 38 years, laborer, married, leaves widow and five children
  • Guy Vickery, age 25 years, laborer, single
  • Roy Weathere, age 19 years, laborer, single


9 Killed, 2 Injured by Mine Explosion
Iowa City Citizen, Iowa
June 4, 1917

Herrin, Ill., June 4. -- Nine dead and two injured were the definite toll, ascertained of a gas explosion at No. 2 mine of the W. P. Rend Coal and Coke Company north of here.

The dead are:
  • Ira Sanders, night boss
  • Otis Reynolds
  • Amos Mezo
  • Guy Vickery
  • Roy Weathers
  • Charles Rice
  • John Gossage
  • I. S. Good
  • Ezra Adams
The injured at the hospital are:
  • Tom Cox, dangerously burned.
  • W. A. Brewer, dangerously burned.
It is supposed that the workmen walked off into an abandoned workings where there was gas.  Little damage was done to the mine, which employs 600 men, and no fire followed the explosion.




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