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Kansas and Texas Coal Company
Kansas and Texas No. 44 Mine Explosion

Huntington, Arkansas
March 4, 1897
No. Killed 14

Arkansas Mine Explosion
Hutchinson News, Kansas
March 6, 1897

Huntington, Ark., March 6. -- Mine 44 of the Kansas and Texas Coal Company, of this place, exploded last evening, burning thirty-five men, all of them seriously and some fatally.

The deceased:
  • Bud Hanley
The injured:
  • Joe Hubbard, colored; badly burned; will probably die
  • William Hanley, colored; badly burned; will probably die
  • F. Fricker, burned on the arms, head and face
  • T. Stuzner, badly burned; may die
  • Andrew Fox, badly burned
  • Ennis Cable, colored; probably fatally burned
  • Marshal Hayes, severely burned on head and face
  • W. H. Hite, track layer, severely burned on head and hands
  • John Harris, colored; hands, face and head burned
  • John Patterson, colored; badly burned; thought to be internally injured
  • Doc Huffecker, colored; burned on head, shoulders and arms
  • J. Ellis, colored; hands and head badly burned
  • William Morris, badly burned on head, face and arms
  • William Scarlett, severely burned and cut on the head; in a precarious condition
  • John Maxwell, very badly burned
  • William Gardenhire, burned on face, neck and head
Mine No. 44 is situated about a quarter of a mile north of the main part of town.  It was a shaft sunk six years ago, but abandoned for about two years.  This summer a slope was driven to the old working, and it again commenced to produce coal.

Over 100 men, half of them Negroes, were employed in the mine.

About 4:30 o'clock a muffled roar startled the people and they turned their eyes toward the mine.  Over the open ground and network of railroad tracks rushed men and women.  Many of the latter had husbands and other members of their families in the mine.  In a few minutes after the explosion they commenced to appear.  Some were not burned at all, while others appeared with their skin standing up in blisters on their faces or hands or hanging in ribbons.

The work of looking for those unable to walk up the slope was at one begun.  Superintendent Vail of the Kansas and Texas Coal Company directed the work.  One by one the more seriously injured were brought out and taken to their homes in hacks and wagons.  How many of the men are burned internally the doctors cannot say, as their efforts are employed solely in dressing their wounds.

Different theories are advanced for the cause of the explosion.  Superintendent Vail says he believes that a keg of powder was exploded by carelessness, but the general opinion among the miners appears to be that it was caused by a shot firing the gas and powder and smoke.

They say that the mine was very dry and dusty and that the furnace was not sufficiently strong to create a draft sufficient to carry the dust out of the rooms and entries.  There is very little gas in the mines here, and no one is of the opinion that it had any part in the blow-up.  State Mine Inspector McMullen has been notified and will doubtless investigate at once.

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