Centralia No 5

Topics: Mining accident, Mining, Coal dust Pages: 4 (1141 words) Published: May 22, 2012
Centralia No 5

On March 25, 1947, the Centralia No. 5 coal mine exploded near the town of Centralia, Illinois, killing 111 people. The Mine Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor reported the explosion was caused when an under burdened shot or blown-out shot ignited coal dust. In this paper, I plan to discuss Driscoll Scanlan, who was the inspector for the district for the area. “Scanlan was a stubborn, righteous, zealous, man of fierce integrity” (Stillman, 2010 pg 32). With his seriousness about his job, how could such a horrific event happen? The What If’s

There were several issues that happened that could have possibly prevented the terrible incident at the Centralia Mine. “In 1941, Illinois Governor Dwight Green appointed Robert Medill, who worked on the governor’s campaign, as director of the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals. In 1941, the governor also appointed Driscoll Scanlan, recommended by his state representative, as one of the state’s 16 mine inspectors (Martin, 1948). As mentioned, Scanlan was a by the rules type of guy. He took his job very seriously and he made several recommendations (at least fifteen reports) to the Director to make corrections at this mine. The issue was that everything was a paper trail; it went from hand to hand to hand. The assistant Director’s name was Robert Weir, who was not as serious about his job as Scanlan, and basically put the paper through the motions, but never actually followed up on them to see if the Director Robert Medill actually received them or would do anything about it. I feel that Scanlan could have followed up with his reports and basically could have harassed the office to see if they received the reports and what was being done, if he felt that they were so important. I do realize that this is easier said than done, but with his integrity and job ethic, I feel he could have gone that extra mile.

The second issue was that after the explosion...

References: Denhardt, R.B., & Denhardt, J.V. (2009). Public Administration: An action orientation (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson/Wadsworth
Garvey, G. (1997). Public administration: The profession and the practice—A case study approaches. New York: Bedford/ St Martin’s.
Martin, J.B. (1948, March). The blast in Centralia No. 5. Harper’s Magazine, 1-38.

Martin, J.B. (2000). The blast in Centralia No. 5: A mine disaster no one stopped. In R.J. Stillman, Public administration concepts and cases (7th ed.), pp. 31-45. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Stillman, R. 2010 Public Administration: Concepts and Cases 9th Ed Belmont, CA: Thompson/Wadsworth
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