Moberly, MO Esry Mine Fire, Aug 1936

Afraid They Would Stop.

“I crawled up to the shaft when you were almost down,” McCann said, “and I felt the fresh air coming down.” That was the first time in all the time that I was down there that I didn’t think you were going to give up before you got all the way down.

“I died another death every time the machinery stopped because I was sure all over again that you had given up. I could hear you all the time.

“Stoner was the first to die. I was talking to him about two hours after the cave in. Right in the middle of a sentence he just fell over and was dead. Dameron died a little later. Sexton was unconscious most of the time.”

Physicians said Sexton would have died had the rescue been delayed another thirty minutes. They ascribed McCann’s and Sexton’s survival to their superior physical condition.

Sexton was taken to the surface after an hour and a half of medical treatment.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 22 Aug 1936


Coal Mine Victim Said to Have Good Chance to Recover

State Mine Inspector in Missouri Will Start Investigation Next Week

Moberly, Mo., Aug. 22 (AP).-A grim three-day battle against the death that overtook two companions in the gas filled darkness of a collapsed coal mine Saturday night left its mark upon two rescued survivors, one of whom was fighting for his life.

Demmer Sexton, 37, part owner of the tragedy-marked mine, was given a good glance to recover from his experience unless pneumonia develops.

His rescued companion, 50-year-old J. W. McCann, was not believed to have suffered serious physical disabilities. Both remained under close care of physicians in a hospital here.

The two miners were rescued Friday afternoon by determined crews of fellow workers who forced their way into the tunnel where four men were trapped Tuesday. Two of the entombed miners were dead when rescuers reached them. Physicians said Sexton would have died in another 30 minutes.

Edward Stoner, Jr., 26, and George T. Dameron, 27-year-old Negro, died of white damp and black damp, the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gasses that collect in unworked or unventilated mines.

Arnold Griffith, chief State mine inspector who went without sleep during the rescue work he directed, announced an investigation into the causes of the mine fire, and subsequent collapse would be conducted early next week.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 23 Aug 1936