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Mine Disasters in
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American Rolling Mill Company
Nellis No. 3 Mine Explosion

Madison, Boone County, West Virginia
November 6, 1943
No. Killed - 11



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Explosion Toll of Nellis Mine Increases to 10
Charleston Gazette, West Virginia
November 8, 1943

Nellis, Nov. 7. -- (AP) -- An explosion which rocked the No. 3 Nellis mine claimed its 10th victim tonight, 17 hours after rescue workers had removed the bodies of nine men killed in the second disaster in West Virginia this year.

The explosion which killed nine men outright and critically injured two others, added another casualty when Lawrence Vincent, 23, died in a Charleston hospital where he had been rushed shortly after his rescue last night from the blast-rocked mine.

By 2 a.m. seven hours after the explosion, which occurred two days after work was resumed following the general shutdown because of wage negotiation differences, rescue workers had removed the victims from the captive mine operated by the American Rolling Mill Company.

Company officials made preparations today to repair the damage, confined to one section, and to restore the mine to immediate operation.

They said the explosion apparently had been caused by a spark from a coal-cutting machine which ignited a pocket of gas in the section where the 11 men were working.  Seventeen others were in the mine at the time, but were digging in other sections and were not affected by the explosion.

State Miner Chief Jesse Redyard, who had been called to Tennessee because of a family illness, was expected here later today to conduct an investigation of the blast, the second in West Virginia mines this year.  Thirteen men lost their lives in a fire in Pursglove No. 15 mine near Morgantown last January.

General Manager C. W. Connor reported that the accident would not prevent continued operation of the mine, but explained that the damaged area will not be worked until repairs are completed.

He asserted that there "was no great damage done to the mine."

The dead:
  • William H. Gunnoe, 48, foreman, wife and four children
  • Kester Gunnoe, 37, machine man, wife and three children
  • William O. Workman, 43, motorman, wife and three children, including two sons in the armed services
  • Oual O. Miller, 28, slate man, wife and three children
  • John Williams, 60, trackman, wife and seven children, including two sons in the service
  • Julius Domokes, 34, section foreman, wife and two children
  • O'Dell Linville, 37, loading machine operator, wife and seven children
  • Steve Turkovich, 48, slate man, wife and two children
  • John Setliff, 49, slate man, wife and three children
  • Lawrence Vincent, 23, slate man, wife
Condition critical:

William C. Barker, 59, shot firer, one of the two injured miners rushed to McMillan Hospital at Charleston, was in a critical condition, suffering from shock and severe body burns.

The normal employment of Nellis No. 3 is 260, but Superintendent A. E. Oakley said the blast occurred when only 28 were at work.

Shortly after the explosion, which was so severe it ripped clothing from the miners' bodies, a crowd of about 350 persons, including families and friends of those at work, gathered at the mine mouth and maintained a vigil until early this morning when the last bodies were removed.

Today, this little Boone County mining town was quiet as mourning widows and children prepared for burial services.  Most of the miners will be buried at Madison, although Connor said the body of Turkovich would be taken to Niles, Ohio, for interment.



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