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Mine Disasters in the United States


Shoal Creek Coal Company
Shoal Creek No. 1 Mine Explosion

Panama, Montgomery County, Illinois
November 11, 1910
No. Killed – 6



Successful Rescue

Fifty men who were working in the section of the Shoal Creek No. 1 Mine where the explosion occurred were rescued after an undisclosed period according to the mine management.  Six miners died in the incident.


On November 11, 1910, there was a gas explosion in the Shoal Creek Coal Company's mine, Panama, Montgomery County, resulting in the death of six men, injury by afterdamp to eleven, and imperiling the lives of 386 other employees.

Two miners went into the mine to secure the tools of one who had been discharged and, although cautioned not to go into a certain entry because of gas there, they went with open light, and the explosion resulted.


(From the 1911 Annual Illinois Coal Report)

Six men killed, eleven injured by afterdamp, and the lives of 386 others imperilled were the results of an explosion of gas in the shaft of the Shoal Creek Coal Company's mine at Panama, Montgomery county.

On the morning of November 11, 1910, a miner, Reggie Romania, who had been discharged, accompanied by Charles Chornak, went into the mine to get Romania's tools.  They were cautioned not to go into the first west entry as there was a squeeze, and gas had been found near the face of the entry.

However, they went and the explosion followed.  The explosion was not severe at the point of the origin, but the deadly afterdamp overcame three of the men, while they were endeavoring to rescue their fellow workmen.

Your inspector got to the mine and took charge of the work of securing the bodies of the dead miners, which was accomplished at 5:00 o'clock the following morning.

The following were killed by an explosion of gas in the Shoal Creek Coal Company's mine No. 1, at Panama, Montgomery county.
  • Charles Chornak, miner, aged 28 years, single
  • George Maneheft, trackman, aged 28 years, single
  • R. Romania, miner, aged 42 years, married, leaves a widow
  • Joe Ganero, miner, aged 33 years, married, leaves a widow and one child
  • Jacob Herman, trackman, aged 62 years, married, leaves a widow and seven children
  • James Wilbar, timberman, aged 39 years, married, leaves a widow and four children


Five Dead, 18 Hurt, In Mine
The New York Times, New York, NY
November 12, 1910

Hillsboro, Ill., Nov. 11. -- Five miners were killed and eighteen were injured in an explosion this morning in the Shoal Creek Coal Company’s mine at Panama, a mining town in the southern part of Montgomery County.  Fifty men, working in the section of the mine where the explosion occurred, were rescued.  Altogether 350 men were under ground at the time, but 300 of them were in no danger.

The cause of the explosion is not known.  The dead and injured were burned by the flames of the explosion, but the mine was not set on fire.


Four Miners Killed in an Illinois Mine
The Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, MN
November 12, 1910

Hillsboro, Ill., Nov. 11. -- Four miners were killed and 10 were injured in an explosion this morning in the Shoal Creek Coal Company’s mine at Panama, Montgomery County.

Fifty men who were working in the section of the mine where the explosion occurred, were rescued, according to the mine management.  Although 350 men were underground at the time but 300 of them were in no danger.

The cause of the explosion is not known.

The dead: J. Wilbur, Jacob Herman, Joe Verenero, one unidentified man.


Five Dead As Result of Mine Explosion
By the Associated Press
Aberdeen Daily American, Aberdeen, SD
November 12, 1910

Hillsboro, Ill., -- Five men are dead and eighteen injured as the result of an explosion in a mine of the Shoal Creek Coal Company of Chicago, at Panama, twelve miles north of here today.  Four of the men were killed outright and the fifth died from injuries later.  He was an Italian who was so mangled as to be unrecognizable.  Rassel Romanio, miner, still is in the shaft.

Gas, which had accumulated overnight in a pocket several hundred feet from the mouth of the mine, exploded before 9 o’clock, tearing out timber and shaking the earth for miles around.

No serious fire followed.  Men who escaped death were injured by falling slate and flames from the explosion.  About 300 men were at work in and about the mine, most of them being outside and away from danger.  Fifty men in the entry of the shaft were rescued by other mines.




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