Herrin, IL Mine Explosion, Dec 1909

Eight Men Killed In Mine.

Naked Light Causes Explosion and Fire in Mine at Herrin, Ill.

St. Louis, Dec. 23.-Eight men were killed and 400 others had narrow escapes in an explosion of gas to-day in Mine “A” of the Chicago and Cartersville Coal Company, at Herrin, Ill. Open lamps carried by a party of three men and a boy are believed to have caused the disaster. All these four are among the dead.

The killed are: W.T. PERCE, mine engineer; EUGENE BARRETT, assistant engineer; THOMAS WILLIAMS, assistant manager; and unidentified boy about 16 years old, GEORGE SNYDER, miner; SALVATOR GREECO, miner; PIETRO ROMEO, laborer, and THOMAS HARBER, miner.

James Guinney, Superintendent of the mine, and Robert Hueston, manager, headed the first relay of rescuers within five minutes of the explosion. Despite the black damp they penetrated the workings. After sending to the surface three unconscious persons they found the bodies of SNYDER, GREECO, and ROMEO. After damp then forced them to retreat, leaving the bodies of PIERCE and his companions.

Fire then began to gain headway, and to-night all efforts are directed toward fighting the flames. It is hoped they will be confined to the two entries affected by the explosion.

News of the disaster spread through Herrin, and there was a rush of hysterical women and crying children to the shaft house. The damage cannot yet be accurately estimated. The colliery is one of the oldest in this section and few accidents have occurred in it.

The New York Times, New York, NY 24 Dec 1909