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Dayton, TN Mine Explosion, Mar 1902

It takes them about forty-five minutes to get out of the work. The two "firemen" today who are supposed to have caused the explosion were LARK HUNTER and JOHN HARNEY. They shot the blasts about 4:45 o'clock -- before all the miners could get out of the mine.

It is supposed that one of the fuses was defective and resulted in what is known as a "blown blast." The flame shooting out from the blast, ignited the gas, which in turn ignited the accumulation of dry coal dust in the mine. The explosion that followed was horrible in its intensity. It shot out of the mouth of the mine and completely wrecked the shed at the mine entrance. Three men were killed while standing outside the mine and two seriously and one fatally injured.

This mine has been the scene of two serious explosions in the past. In 1889 four men were killed and eight seriously injured by an explosion of gas.

December 28, 1895, an explosion of mine dust occurred in which twenty-eight lives were lost. This was caused by a miner carrying an open lamp contrary to the regulations.
In May, 1901, an explosion of a similar nature occurred in the Shalliday mine, operated by the same company, in which twenty-one lives were lost.

The force of the explosion in the Nelson mine today was terrible. Bodies were literally mangled and torn to pieces. The company states that there were seventy-five men at work in the mine today. Most of them were out of the mine when the explosion occurred.

Reports from Dayton at midnight, show that eleven dead bodies have been taken from the Nelson mine. The company claims there are but eight more in the mine. Miners claim there are twelve to fifteen more. Rescuing parties are at work but at a late hour tonight struck a heavy fall of slate that will delay them for a day or two.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette Indiana 1902-04-01

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