Omar, WV Coal Mine Explosion, May 1961



Logan, W. Va. (UPI) -- Two men were killed in an explosion inside the No. 5 mine of Omar Mining Co. at nearby Omar, Logan County, today.
A company spokesman said all others of about 45 men in the mine at the time escaped.
An official said it "was not a bad explosion" and that "everything is in control" as of 8:20 a.m. The explosion occurred at 3:45 a.m. EST.
The foreman on the midnight to 8 a.m. shift suffered burns about the hands and face from a small fire which apparently occurred after the blast.
He was reported in good condition at a Logan Hospital. The fire was said to have been extinguished by the men in the area of the blast before they left the scene.
Killed were WALTER CRUM, 38, father of four children, and ORA NEACE, 56, father of six, both of Omar. The only other man reported injured was WHEELER SMITH, 47, general foreman of the third shift.
The company said the 45 men inside the mine, which employs a total of 223 persons on three shifts, made up two coal-producing crews, a maintenance crew and a supply crew.
"All are accounted for and are out of the mine," a spokesman said. "The damage was not extensive.
The explosion was localized."
Deputy West Virginia Mines Director E. C. Workman, who was superintendent of the Omar No. 5 mine before taking the state position last Feb. 1, and U.S. Bureau of Mines Logan area superviser James Whalen headed state and federal inspectors investigating the cause of the blast.

Morgantown Post West Virginia 1961-05-29