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Western Mine and Coal Company
Western No. 5 Mine Fire

Lehigh, Coal County, Oklahoma
February 22, 1912
No. Killed - 9

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Successful Rescue

Mexican youth, Reifne Rodriguez, was rewarded for his bravery by the United Mine Workers’ 21st district executive board.  When it was discovered that the No. 5 mine was on fire, Rodriguez ran through the workings warning all 100 workmen except for 9 of the danger allowing them to exit before the fire gained headway.  Nine miners died from suffocation in the fire.  For his bravery, the board authorized to set aside sufficient funds for the education of the young Mexican.  Source document  PDF Format

The fire was caused by a miner’s open light accidentally igniting a body of car oil which was being warmed in a steam operated oil heater at the foot of the downcast hoisting shaft.  Of the 200 men in the mine at the time of the disaster, 190 reached the surface through two escapeways.  Nine were suffocated by the smoke and afterdamp from the fire and one man was rescued by the exploration party.

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