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Mine Disasters in the United States



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Zeigler Coal Company
Zeigler Mine Explosion

Zeigler, Franklin County, Illinois
February 10, 1909
No. Killed 3

Consolidated Zeigler Mine Recoveries Report  (4.6 Mb)  PDF Format
Includes recovery efforts following these disaster events at the Zeigler Mine:
See also: Zeigler Mine Explosion, Apr. 3, 1905
Zeigler Mine Fire, Nov. 3, 1908
Zeigler Mine Explosion and Fire, Jan. 10, 1909


Rescuer Deaths

During recovery operations following a fire at this mine, an explosion occurred and three men were killed instantly.  An initial disaster started on April 3rd, 1905 when 49 miners, including 5 rescuers, died following several explosions.  During recovery efforts on November 3, 1908, an additional 31 rescuers were killed in multiple explosions.  Another 26 rescuers were killed in an explosion during recovery efforts on January 10, 1909.


The Third Explosion:

(The following narrative taken from the Zeigler Mine recovery report PDF Format describing the incidents from April 3, 1905 to February 10, 1909.)

The hoisting shaft has three compartments, two for the ten-ton coal skips and one for the lowering and raising of men.  A separate hoisting equipment operates the manway cage.

On January 29th, 1909, an airlock was built above the manway compartment, and men wearing helmets entered the mine and began to curtain off the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd west "C" south entries and all the north workings.  During this work one man wearing a Draeger helmet lost his life.  It is reported by men who were with him that the pneumatic cushion was so inflated as to cause the man's jaws to ache, and that he opened the release valve for relief thereby allowing gases to enter the machine.  Furthermore, he had previously been under the doctor's care for heart trouble.

On February 9th the fan was started as an exhaust and a squad of men entered the mine and built board and plaster stoppings across the north side of the shaft bottom, and across the west aircourse immediately north of the first southwest crosscut.  They also hung a curtain on the "0" entry Just north of the same crosscut, causing the air to be deflected south on the "C" entry.  Two hours after this curtain was hung, 11:15 a.m. February 10th, three men who had advanced down the "C" entry to the 1st west "C" south saw fire light a body of gas ahead of them on the "C" entry.  This caused an explosion which killed three men at the shaft bottom.

The three men who saw the fire were successful in reaching the surface, as were also five men who were on the "C" entry at the first southeast crosscut, and three men who were plastering the stopping on the west aircourse.  The same afternoon both shafts were again sealed and remained closed for fifteen months.




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