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Mine Disasters in
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Lost Creek Fuel Company
Lost Creek No. 2 Mine Explosion

Oskaloosa, Iowa
January 24, 1902
No. Killed - 20



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Explosion Kills Twenty-One Miners
Chateaugay Record, New York
January 31, 1902

Oskaloosa, Iowa. (Special) -- As the result of a terrible mine disaster at Lost Creek, near Oskaloosa, 21 dead are in an improvised morgue and 8 injured men arein a temporary hospital.

The disaster occurred at noon and was what is known as a "dust explosion." The miners had just fired their noon blasts.  Burning powder ignited the gas and the explosion followed.  Smoke and debris were blown out of the shaft 200 feet high.

Part of the top works was torn away and the fans and cages were partially wrecked.  This made the work of rescue slow, and it was 3 o'clock before volunteer parties dared to venture into the east entrance, where the explosion occurred.

When the rescuers fought their way in a fearful sight greeted them.  The dead and injured were terribly burned and mutilated, some of them almost beyond recognition.

Fire, which it was at first feared would prove destructive to the entire mine, had broken out, and this added terror to the spectacle.  The flames were finally controlled, and after several of the rescue party had succumbed to the fumes all the dead were found and carried to the top of the shaft.

At the time of the explosion more than 100 men were in the mine, but all except those in the east entry escaped with only slight injury.  It was nearly dark when the last of the dead was taken out, and the scenes of anguish among the families of the men were many.  Nearly all of the men were married and leave families in poor circumstances.

The mine is owned by the Lost Creek Fuel Company, of this city, and has been in operation about one year.  The property loss is about $10,000.

Coroner Foshlinger of Oskaloosa is today holding an inquest to determine who is responsible for the disaster.

It is the worst mining disaster in the history of Iowa.


Listings from The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Iowa
January 25, 1902

The dead:
  • Joe Berto
  • John Biros
  • Sylvester Creighton
  • A. B. Crews
  • Jack Elder
  • Boone Fish
  • Russ Fish
  • Mike Fox, Sr.
  • Mike Fox, Jr.
  • Frank Jaspers
  • Joe Jaspers
  • Alex Gray
  • Mike Hraha
  • Jim Humphrey
  • Sam Humphrey
  • Jack Manley
  • John Martin
  • Andy Pash
  • Frank Secress
  • Jim Stohal
  • David Walter
The Injured

Among the surviving injured are:
  • Harry Derrick
  • George Gogo
  • William Harvey
  • John Jerkin
  • Jonas Mable
  • Oliver Mable (Died In Hospital Jan. 25)
  • Ed Swanson
  • Ed Secress
Note:  Accoding to NIOSH, the official number of dead is 20.



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