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Mine Disasters in the United States


Eldorado Coal and Mining Company
Seagraves Mine Explosion

Eldorado, Saline County, Illinois
February 19, 1913
No. Killed - 4



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(From Bureau of Mines Report, by R. Y. Williams and H. D. Mason, Jr.)

At 7:20 a.m. as the day shift of 225 men was entering the mine an explosion in the 3d and 4th west stub entry killed 4 men.  The explosion of gas did not propagate because the coal dust was mixed with inert dust from the floor and roof.  The ignition was caused by open lights, and the explosion was not violent.  Gas accumulated because of an open door, and the fireboss had not visited these places that morning.  The rest of the men left on hearing the explosion except three who were found by rescue crews and removed to the surface where they were revived.  One died later.


On February 19, 1913, four men were killed in Eldorado Coal and Mining Company's mine, Eldorado, Saline County, by an explosion of gas.  These men had just arrived at their working places when they came in contact with an accumulation of gas, which ignited and resulted in their death.  Whether or not the mine had been examined that morning and this particular place marked dangerous is not disclosed in the report.

Several others were injured, two of whom were thought to be dead when brought to the parting, but were resuscitated by patient work of more than half an hour.  Soon after these men revived, it was found that three of the rescue party, who had rushed into the affected portion of the mine, were down from the effects of noxious gases.  Again the pulmotors were brought into use and it was only through the efficient work of the men in charge that their lives were saved.


(From the 1913 Annual Illinois Coal Report)

I received a message about 10:15 a.m. at Equality, Gallatin County, that an explosion had occurred at the above named mine at 7:20 a.m.  I immediately notified the manager, Oscar Cartlidge, and Superintendent J. C. Duncan of the Benton Mine Rescue Station of the accident, then got a rig and drove through the country a distance of eight miles, and arrived at mine about 12:15 p.m., and found that four lives had been lost and three men badly injured, and were just bringing the last body up.

The explosion occurred immediately after the last cage of men had descended for work, and was caused by ignition of accumulated gas at the face of the third and fourth west north.  The explosion was confined to this portion of the mine and as a result only those working in that locality were in danger.

Immediately after the explosion Superintendent Ginney organized a rescue party, having first sent out call for assistance.  District Superintendent Bagwell of the O'Gara Coal Co., together with his mine managers and assistants from O'Gara Mines Nos. 8, 10 and 11, responded.

As soon as Mr. Bagwell arrived on the scene he called the general office of the O'Gara Coal Co., at Harrisburg, and requested the regular rescue corps of the company, together with all the equipments, to be sent to the mine at once.  This request was received at the office at 8:00 a.m., and at 8:45 the rescue corps, in charge of O'Gara Mine Inspector C. A. Horning and District Superintendent J. J. Morris arrived at the scene of disaster, the Big Four Railroad Company having furnished a special train to carry the entire party, which was made up of Mine Inspector C. A. Horning, Superintendent J. J. Morris, Superintendent W. H. Stricklin, Superintendent Richard Neeson, Mine Manager Frank Keesner, Robert Wright, R. F. Macklin, James Cook, James Pyre, Sherman Walters and Jake Ingram.

Upon the arrival at the scene those in charge of the O'Gara Rescue Corps, co-operated with the mine management in organizing parties for going into the mine and recovering those who had not succeeded in escaping.  Messrs. William Taylor and James Robinson, who were familiar with the workings of the mine and regularly certified rescue men, were equipped with Draeger helmets and went to the scene of the explosion.  These two men were followed up by Messrs. Horning, Ginney, Morris, Bagwell and others with pulmotors, stretchers, etc.

At 10:30 o'clock the first body was recovered.  The other three were recovered soon thereafter.  In the meantime, however, the two men who were severely burned had been carried out to the parting and at first they were both supposed to have succumbed to the effects of the explosion, but the pulmotors were immediately brought into use, and after patient efforts of over half an hour on each man, they were resuscitated.  This work was ably assisted in by Superintendent Morris of the Saline County Coal Co. and his entire rescue corps, consisting of Charles Stahlbert, Walter Scott, Charles Tinsey, William Taylor, Charles Cathcart, Bertram Peak, William Schuman and James Johnson, who had been furnished with a special engine by the Big Four, and they arrived at the mine when their assistance was most needed.

Soon after these two men who were injured had been resuscitated, it was found that three of the rescue party who had rashly rushed into the effected portion of the mine were down from the effects of noxious gases.  Again the pulmotors were brought into use and it was only through the efficient work of the men in charge of the pulmotors that their lives were saved.

The most heroic act of the occasion was performed by Mr. Thomas Harris of O'Gara No. 11 Mine, who was one of the party following the helmet men.  He rushed into a part of the mine hot with noxious gases, and brought out the men who were afterwards resuscitated by the use of pulmotors.  Had Mr. Harris not acted promptly at this time, the list of fatalities would have been two greater.

After the bodies had all been recovered, I took a party consisting of Oscar Cartlidge, manager of the Illinois Mine Rescue Station; J. C. Duncan, superintendent of the Benton Rescue Station; Bernard Cosgrove; James Schrader, county mine inspector of Saline County; Edward Langhron, county mine inspector of Franklin County, and mine officials, and descended into the mine to investigate the cause of the explosion; taking the main air course up the first west north to a point where the second west north is connected to the third west north by a pair of stub entries, and going through a brattice from the first to the second, found that the ventilating current was heavily charged with afterdamp, so decided to leave the mine and let it clear out until the following day.  February 20th we descended and penetrated the territory of explosion and found several stoppings blown and doors deranged and some gas at the faces of same two entries, so returned out of mine, started repair work and restoring ventilation, and the mine resumed work February 24, 1913.

These four men lost their lives in the Eldorado Coal & Mining Company's Mine at Eldorado, Saline County, by an explosion of gas.  They had just reached their working places when they came in contact with accumulated gas, which ignited and resulted in their deaths.
  • Chasen Cimonneti, miner, aged 19 years, single
  • Joe Cinsetti, miner, aged 20 years, single
  • August Moretto,, miner, aged 22 years, single
  • Alex Vinnettie, miner, aged 19 years, single



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