Mine Explosion near Jenny Lind

13 Coal Miners Die in Explosion; Many Others Saved

FORT SMITH The bodies of 13 coal miners are in two Fort Smith morgues as the result of a gas explosion at 8:30 a.m. Friday, February 24, 1928, in the tunnels of coal mines near Jenny Lind, 11 miles southeast of Fort Smith.

After the explosion, the Jenny Lind Field was the scene of frantic efforts to reach the miners, but gas fumes hindered rescue crews. Ambulances from Fort Smith rushed to the mines, while a big crowd formed.

The bodies of 11 men were brought to the surface of the mine about 3 p.m. Friday by rescue crews directed from the surface by W. E. Templeton, Fort Smith president of the Mama Coal Company. Walter Chapple was taken from the mine about 3:30 p.m., and Jack Williams was brought to the surface at 5 p.m. His body was found in a water hole where he apparently had tried to get away from the terrible heat and fire that followed the blast.

The crews worked underground under the direction of Claud Speigel, state mine inspector. About 125 men were working in the mine at the time of the explosion. Several escaped through another mine. The other survivors escaped through the entrance to the mine.