At the time of the explosion, about 7:20 p.m., 38 men were in the, mine, 5 of whom were at the shaft bottom, where they felt only a slight rush of wind and did not realize that anything had happened. Five of the men in the explosion area escaped, 4 being slightly cut and bruised. A trip rider standing near a telephone at a parting was knocked down but received no injuries; he called the top foreman and then helped two injured men out of the smoke and fumes to a place where a locomotive was sent to bring them to the shaft. Two other motormen also came out with their locomotives. The main haulage was on a separate circuit and was not affected by the explosion.
Help was called, but as a trained apparatus crew was not available rescue crews used gas masks and put up temporary brattices to advance the air into the affected areas. The work proved difficult and dangerous as the airways were caved and blocked so that it became necessary to reverse the fan and bring fresh air up the haulage entries.
It was the afternoon of July 17 before entrance was made into the left entries off the 14th entry, where nine men had hung curtains across the entries in a futile attempt to keep back the afterdamp. The curtains were poorly hung and of little benefit, although notes left by the men showed that they were alive 6 hours after the explosion. The bodies of the 19 others who were killed instantly were recovered from the explosion area by July 18.
The body of a shot firer was the only one mutilated, and parts of his cap lamp were blown outby, others inby. His explosives box had disappeared. Evidently while making up primers he removed the shorting clips from legwires of detonators, and the wires contacted the rails or poorly insulated cables of a cutting machine. Coal dust was ignited by the explosives blast. Rock dusting had been neglected, and the mine was in poor condition throughout.
Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I