March 25 Illinois History Minute
It’s March 25th, the anniversary of the 1947 Centralia mine disaster. Coal dust was ignited in the Centralia Number Five coal mine – the exact cause remains uncertain. 31 miners escaped the resulting explosion, but 111 were killed --- some from the explosion itself, others due to the toxic gases produced. The farewell notes written by suffocating miners were remembered in a song by Woody Guthrie.
The Centralia mine disaster and a similar one four years later in West Frankfort led to new mine safety regulations, that have helped reduce the number of deaths.
I’m Jim Meadows. Illinois Public Media.