Cherry, IL Coal Mine Disaster, Nov 1909
No Hope Left.
At 10 o'clock the statement was made positively at Cherry be persons in charge of keeping order at the mine that there was absolutely no hope for the 400 or more men buried under the earth. At that hour persons familiar with the topography of the mine declared that the flames undoubtedly had burned away the frame work in the mine and that many of the inner works had probably caved in on the imprisoned miners.
It is expected that the fire will not burn itself out for weeks and it is believed that when the depths can be penetrated nothing will be found but heaps of charred debris, with little or nothing that bears a semblance to human bodies.
The inhabitants of the little village are dazed tonight at the magnitude of the disaster.
In spite of the frantic demonstration at the mine immediately after the explosion, it is clear that they do not yet realize the full extent of the calamity that has come into their lives. Little knots of men are scattered throughout the village discussing the tragedy in awed whispers, all probably expressing the belief that the entombed men will be rescued, but privately feeling that hope has long since passed.
Practically every house in the village has lost at least one member of the family in the disaster and the taking off of the breadwinner of the family has brought many of them to actual want. To meet this emergency General Manager W. W. TAYLOR and Supt. JAMES STEELE, of the mine sent messages to the Milwaukee railroad officials tonight asking for relief in the shape of provisions and clothing. The railroad sent a half dozen special trains bearing the necessities and also nurses and physicians to the scene.
Everything for an emergency hospital has been taken to the town, but the general belief is that the place will need coffins more than it will need bandages.
Great difficulty was encountered by newspaper men in getting news of the disaster to the outside world. The explosion which wrecked the mine also partially wrecked the telephone and telegraph wires into Cherry and it was hours before any news reached Spring Valley except by courier.