Disasters: Death in Consol No. 9

At 5:25 one morning last week, 99 coal miners on the midnight-to-8-a.m. "cateye" shift were working the rich bituminous veins of the Consolidation Coal Co.'s No. 9 mine in northern West Virginia. Suddenly, deep in the earth, an explosion thundered through the eight-mile-long labyrinth of shafts and tunnels. Shock waves rippled outward for miles, jolting the Marion County mining community into frightened wakefulness. At daybreak, thick clouds of greasy black smoke billowed 150 ft. into the grey morning air.

Before the day was over, 21 men had made it to the frozen surface;...

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