Decatur, IL Coal Mine Fire, Jan 1905
NINE ARE KNOWN TO BE DEAD.
RESULTS OF THE FIRE IN THE DECATUR, ILL., COAL MINE SHAFT.
THOSE WHO ESCAPED SAID IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO LIVE BEYOND A FEW MINUTES IN THE SMOKE.
Decatur, Ill., Jan. 18. -- Nine persons are known to be dead and entombed as the result of a fire in a 600-foot coal mine shaft near here.
Rescuing parties went into the mine, but were unable to do anything, owing to the smoke.
All night hysterical women and men stood about the entrance to the shaft, awaiting the abatement of the fire to begin a search for the bodies of the dead.
The known dead are:
AUGUST JAGUSCH, aged 51.
EMIL KNORR, aged 20.
HENRY GOLLAN and son.
Those who escaped said it was impossible to live more than a few minutes in the choking clouds of smoke and miners were seen to fall and die in their efforts to break through the cordon of flames. Ten or twelve were enabled to crawl through an escapement at the rear of the shaft into a new shaft. One body was recovered in this way.
FRED KNORR, an aged man, escaped half suffocated. He was frantic with grief because he had seen his son, EMIL, perish.
"I was near the mule stable when the fire started," said one survivor. "I started back toward the end of the shaft, shouting to the other workmen that the mine was on fire. I met two of them and one continued toward the back of the shafting crying the warning."
"The other man and I returned to the fire, thinking we might check it, but we found it smoldering, emitting gases in which it was impossible to live."
"We lowered our heads and burst through it, choking and gasping. The draft carried the smoke back into the shaft, so that we were able to get fresh air."
"Men came running up to the line of dark red fire, heavy with smoke, but could not break through it. They would fall shrieking or would turn back and suffocate in the fumes that were pouring back in the shaft."
Daily Free Press Carbondale Illinois 1905-01-18