September 27, 1929; Covington No.7 Mine, Tahoma, Oklahoma; 8 killed
(From Bureau of Mines report, by J.B. Hynal)
About 4:30 p.m., after the day shift had left the mine, the shot firer was firing shots at the face of the main slope, and the night shift was starting down. Six of these men were well down the slope, and a seventh was at the slope mouth when the explosion caught them, flowing the to man 200 feet and through the corrugated-iron engine house. Three of 5 holes charged with Cardox were fired in the face of the slope. They were fired singly from a 220-volt powerline at at switch about 50 feet from the face.
Gas accumulated at the face or released by the first shots, was ignited by the arcs as the firing cable nips were attached. Dust was ignited and propagated the explosion out the slope. The bodies were recovered by other employees with a short time. The mine was dry and dusty, sprinkling was ineffective, and no rock dust was used. The mine was examined for gas before the day shift entered, but no other examinations were made.
LATTIMER COUNTY NEW-DEMOCRAT, Friday, October 4, 1929 “Blast Hurls Person Through Engine room - Poisonous Gasses Rise”
Shady Point, OK, September 27. A gas explosion howled through the passageways of mine No. 7 on the Covington lease Friday afternoon, leaving violent death in its wake for eight miners.
Bill Cates of Jenny Lind was hurled 400 feet from the mouth of the slope through an engine house, crushing every bone in his body and mangling his features to such an extent that he could hardly be identified. The mangled body of Jeff Shelton was found a short distance down the slope.
Six other miners were underground when the explosion occurred and virtually all hope of finding them alive was abandoned Friday night as the deadly “after damp” quickly arouse.
The bodies of the men had not been recovered late Friday night as a rescue crew of about eight men were systematically searching the entries for the men. The men still in the mine are Robert Hanson, Jenny Lind; James Howard, Cameron; Herman Curiton, Panama; Willowby Wells, Shady Point; Houston Smith, Panama; and Joe Budoc, Shady Point.
Rescue workers had covered about 54 rooms in the mine without finding the bodies. The bodies of Shelton and Cates were sent to Ft. Smith. The explosion occurred at about 4:30 o’clock. Mine officials have not determined the cause of the explosion nor the extend of the damage.
Cates was about 40 years old and had made his home at Jenny Lind with R.L. Pearson, brother of Jim Pearson, day desk sergeant of the Ft. Smith police department. He was single and is survived by two brothers, Jack Cates of Poteau, and another who lives at Danville. He is also survived by a step-mother who is believed to live at Hot Springs.
Robert Hanson is a nephew-in-law of Jim Pearson and made his home at Jinny Lind, driving to and from his work each day. He had been working but a short time at Shady Point. Hanson has two children. His wife, Truschal Pearson Hanson, has supper prepared and was waiting his return when she received new of the explosion.
Ambulances Are Called: Both Fentress and Putnam ambulances were called from Ft. Smith Friday night to Shady Point where eight men perished in an explosion. The bodies of Bill Cates and Jeff Shelton were returned Friday night and the ambulances were ordered back to the mine to await recovery of other bodies.
Pages 147 and 209 (LeFlore County Sun, October 3, 1929)
Summary of fatalities:
Bill Cates, age 40, shot firer, residence Jenny Lind, AR, single, buried Jenny Lind
Jack Shelton (or Jeff Sheldon ), shot firer, residence Shady Point, OK, married, 4 children, buried Shady Point
James Howard, age 27, loader, residence Cameron, OK, married, 5 children, buried Jenny Lind
Herman Curetan, age 25, rope rider, residence Panama, OK, married, 2 children, buried Howe
Huston Smith, age 28, machine man, residence Shady Point, OK, married, 2 children, buried Shady Point
Robert Hanson, age 37, loader, residence Jenny Point, AR, married, buried Jenny Lind
Willowby Wells, age 35, driller, residence Shady Point, OK, married, 1 child, buried Shady Point
Joe Eudoc, age 43, loader, residence Shady Point, OK, single, buried Frontonac, Kansas