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Birmingham, AL Mine Explosion Disaster, Aug 1943

TOLL OF DEAD IN MINE BLAST SOARS TO 21.

23 OTHER MINERS BADLY INJURED IN BIRMINGHAM DISASTER SUNDAY MORNING.

Birmingham, Ala., Aug. 30. -- (AP) -- Twenty-one dead were counted today from the two gas explosions which late Saturday and early yesterday tore through the Republic Steel Corporation's No. 2 Sayreton mine here.
Twenty-three others were burned, several of the critically.
Among the dead were E. J. McCROSSIN, chief state mine inspector; GEORGE FERGUSON, Sayrerton night superintendent, and WILLIAM GOODWIN, chief mine inspector here for Republic. They headed rescue parties which entered the mine after the first blast.
E. I. EVANS, Souchern district manager for Republic, issued this statement of the disaster:
"The first explosion (at 10:20 p. m. Saturday) seriously interrupted the ventilating system and damaged the stoppings, doors and regulators in the ninth left section area. The second explosion at 12:40 a. m. yesterday was more violent and extended the damage which already existed and started eight small fires."
Origin Of Blast Unknown.
EVANS said the origin of the explosions was unknown.
FRANK LOGGINS, one of the injured miners, described the first explosion as a "long sheet of flame."
"I was stunned and burned," he said. "I began to stumble in the dark toward the mouth of the slope. My light was out and I stepped on several bodies."
Another miner, ANDY M. KING, said he was "blown at least 30 feet through the air" by the second explosion inside the mine. His hair was singed, but he was otherwise unhurt.
KING, a member of the first rescue group said "when he reached No. 10 left (section of the mine where both explosions occurred), we found six bodies stretched along the track, one behind the other.
"They must have been running when they died."
"Another man was down on his hands and knees, and must have tried to get low to escape the flames."
100 Men Escape Injury.
A company spokesman estimated that 100 of the regular night crew of 135 men made their way to safety unhurt between the explosions.
EVANS said nurses were being flown here from Cleveland, O., to aid in caring for the injured. Others, he added, have been brought here from Gadsen, Ala., where Republic operates a blast furnace.
Sayreton, which produces approximately 100,000 tons of coking coal monthly, employes about 1,100 men on all shifts and is the state's third largest coal producer. McCROSSIN, who had inspected the mine many times, rated it as gassy.
The dead, in addition to McCROSSIN, FERGUSON and GOODWIN, were listed by the company as follows:
JOHN FRAME, assistant superintendent at Sayreton; J. V. SHARIT; S. O. OLDACRC; W. E. FAUCETT; WILLIAM PENNINGTON; JOHN W. GUTHRIE: BUD JONES; JIM McCOMBS; HENRY HANN; GEORGE SELLERS; TOM McALPINE; W. H. ABEL; HERBERT GILLEY; AMOS McGRUDER; JOE DAVENPORT; WILL GILES; C. E. SAXON and WILL NEAL.
The section of the mine where the explosions occurred is approximately one and a half miles below the surface.

Star Anniston Alabama 1943-08-30



article | by Dr. Radut