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Mine Disasters in
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The explosion was violent, but damage did not extend out of the section in which it originated. Most of the victims were killed by suffocation or afterdamp, and 11 others were overcome but were rescued. Gas in a room face was ignited by an open light, the explosion being spread by coal dust and kegs of black powder.
Twenty Lives Lost in Kansas Mine Explosion
Des Moines Daily News, Iowa
December 14, 1916
Weir City, Kan., Dec. 14. (UP) -- Twenty miners were killed and seven are injured as the result of the explosion in the Mayer Mine No. 9, Reedy and Ryan, 12 miles west of here, yesterday afternoon, it became known here early today. It is not known whether any other bodies are still in the mine. Although the explosion occurred yesterday afternoon, definite details as to loss of life could not be learned until early today.
A combination gas and powder explosion is believed to have been the cause of the disaster.
With but one exception the loss of life was the greatest in the history of Kansas coal mining.
Forty men were killed in 1899 in an explosion in a mine at Frontenac.
Those killed in the disaster were either burned or suffocated and some of those rescued were badly burned. Most of the dead were foreigners, living at Stone City, near the scene of the explosion. It is not known definitely how many were in the mine at the time of the explosion but it is believed there were sixty. Thirty-three escaped uninjured from the side opposite that where the explosion occurred.
With the 20 dead, seven injured, and 33 uninjured, 60 have been accounted for. Mine officials say they believe this is all the men in the mine at the time of the explosion, but are not sure, the rescue teams continue their work trying to locate more bodies.
For hours a mine rescue team from Pittsburg, Kan., worked heroically in an effort to save those caught by the explosion and while the bodies were being brought to the surface, wives, children and other relatives and friends of the trapped men stood about, hoping against hope.
There were many pitiful scenes at an undertaking establishment at Mineral, near here last night, where the bodies of 11 victims lay in a row.
Other bodies were taken to Scammon and Cherokee.
One woman lost her husband and two sons. Two other fathers died with their sons. Forty children are fatherless. An official investigation of the cause of the explosion will be made immediately.
List of men who perished:
W. H. Windsor
A. H. Roycroft
J. W. Paige
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