The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster
No One Stopped
In 1907, two miles south of Centralia, Illinois was the Centralia Mine No. 5. The Mine was there to provide coal during World War II. This particular mine employed 250 men and produced 2,000 tons of coal each day. During the next several years there were several complaints made regarding the safety of the mine. On March 25, 1947, the mine exploded, killing 111 miners. (Stillman, 2010)
Driscoll O. Scanlan was one of the 16 state mine inspectors. Scanlan worked at The Centralia Mine No. 5 as teen years before he became a mine inspector. Upon his inspections of the mine, Scanlan realized the mine was very hazardous. He became very active with voicing his concerns, which faced the workers safety, and made several reports for there to be corrections done to the mine. One of the main concerns was the coal dust. One of the workers reported the dust covering their shoes and another stated he would cough up chunks of coal once he left work (Stillman, 2010). This build up of coal dust could cause an explosion at any moment. Scanlan inspected the mine several times before the explosion in 1947 and recommended that the sprinkling and haulage roads be cleaned. “Many public sector safety professionals from state and federal agencies knew of the hazards as a result of inspections, union complaints and letters to state officials” (www.usmra.com/repository/best-of-the-best_newsletter_article). Scanlan knew that as a mine inspector and public administrator it was his main priority to ensure the safety of the mine and its compliance with the mining laws.
Even though Scanlan sent is findings and his reports to The Department of Mines and Minerals in Illinois I feel that Scanlan could have done more to prevent this fatality (Martin 2000). In my opinion if Scanlan was not receiving the answers that he wanted he should have...
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