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75 Men Entombed by Mine Explosion
The New York Times, New York
December 17, 1907
Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 16. -- About seventy-five men are buried in No. 1 mine of the Yolande Coal and Coke Company at Yolande, thirty-five miles south of Birmingham, in Tuscaloosa County, following and explosion to-day. Ninety men were checked in for work.
Within an hour after the explosion seventeen men had crawled out of the mine, all burned. Thirty-five dead bodies had been recovered up to dark.
While officials of the company are hoping for the best, the rescue party is forcing its way into the mines. It is feared that few of those still entombed will escape death. Little houses just outside the mines were destroyed by the immense amount of dust and timber blown out of the mines. A relief train and mine inspectors went to the scene this afternoon. Sixty coffins were prepared to be sent to Yolande.
The work of recovery is slow, and while hundreds of miners from adjacent mining camps are present to assist, it is thought that all of the dead cannot be taken out before two days.
The mine inspectors have concluded that the explosion was caused by a "windy shot" bringing about a dust explosion. For two hours after the explosion it was impossible to venture even near the mouth of the mine, so hot was the air that rushed out.
The explosion was below the second right sub-entry. The mines go down something like 1,500 feet. There was a terrific explosion, the force being made known outside by the dist and timbers that were blown out in great quantities, destroying small buildings nearby and landing some distance away. There was a terrific heat near the shaft after the explosion.
Officers of the mining company immediately took steps to start a rescue party to get to the men on the inside. The fans were started, and other means employed to eliminate the bad air. Within an hour seventeen men had crawled out of the mine, and their description of the interior conditions was terrible. Several of these men were severely burned.
Among the dead taken out early was Robert Arnold, the bank boss and Assistant Superintendent of the Yolande Company. The white miners dead are Lem Wright, Will Lowe, Tom Newell, W. R. Stover, Neal Rider, D. H. Morrison, Edward Jones, J. M. Tucker, Charles Satterfield, John Morrison, Joe Madison, and A. B. Smedly.
Yolande Mine is a few miles from Virginia City, where a similar explosion occurred two years ago when 112 men were killed. The Yolande Coal and Coke Company, owner of the mine, is headed by Dr. G. B. Crowe of Birmingham.
The mine is among the model collieries of the Birmingham region. Non-union men were employed exclusively, but everything possible had been done to insure the contentment of employees. Yolande is situated on a beautiful hill, and all the houses are painted white with green trimmings, giving it an air of picturesqueness and healthfulness unusual in mining quarters.
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