Mining Blast Toll May Rise
Charleston Daily Mail, West Virginia
January 23, 1941
Welch, Jan. 23 (AP) -- Confident that dust was a factor in the explosion yesterday which killed four men, state mine inspectors resumed their studies today at the scene of the blast in the Koppers Coal Company's Carswell mine.
Physicians, meanwhile, expressed little hope for the recovery of three of the 14 miners injured in the early morning disaster.
Described as "critical" were:
Rucker Scales, negro
Funeral arrangements were completed for the four victims, all married.
State Miner Chief N. P. Rhinehart had announced that dust was an explosion cause, but he said it was not determined whether gas was a factor.
Koppers officials at Pittsburgh said that little damage resulted from the explosion and work could have resumed today if it was not for the investigation.
Carswell, a shaft operation mostly mechanized, had produced more than 1,000,000 tons in the last two years with but a single fatality. The last previous explosion in the mine was in July, 1919, when six men died.
The dead were:
Melvin Smith, 39, conveyor boss
Kelly Church, 33, loader
James Church, loader, a cousin of Kelly
Tom Kelly, 45, negro, loader
Note: Percy Scott, a loader, died later the day of the explosion, in a Welch Hospital, fifth victim of the explosion. The condition of George Gray, Louis Walker and Rucker Scales is listed as "critical." The men took a turn for the worse.