Clinton, IN Coal Mine Fire, Jan 1939

19 of Trapped Miners Saved

Clinton, Ind., Jan. 2.-(AP)-Smoke curled lazily skyward today from the shaft of the Clinton coal company’s Crown Hill coal mine No. 6, near here, a grim reminder of a fire which brought death to one miner and forced 19 others to spend New Year’s Eve huddled together for 10 nerve-shaking hours 156 feet underground.

The nineteen survivors, gaunt but thankful were recuperating in their homes from the effects of afterdamp, dreaded mine gas, which entered their lungs as they waited in a remote corner of the mine for more than a [illegible] frantic rescuers, working relays, to bring freedom.

Jese Hays, 35, father of three children, was believed to have wandered away from his fellow workers and encountered a pocket of gas which caused his death.

Mine fire fighters began today to battle the blaze which miners believe was started by a fallen electric wire in a section of the tunnel between the men and the exit shaft.

Rescuers early yesterday, waded water waist-deep through another tunnel, abandoned for 20 years, broke down a barrier and reached the men from behind.

Abilene Reporter News, Abilene, TX 2 Jan 1939