Havaco No. 9 Mine Disaster 1946

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 15 Jan 1946 [unknown]
Location: Welch, McDowell County, West Virginiamap
Surnames/tags: Mining_Disasters West Virginia Disasters
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Southeast United States Mining Disasters | Category: West Virginia, Mining Disasters | Havaco No. 9 Mine Disaster

Contact: United States Mining Disasters


History and Circumstances

  • Date: 15 Jan 1946
  • Location: Welch, West Virginia
  • Victims: 15 deaths, 5 women injured (while in the Company store), 5 Miners Injured
  • Cause: Coal mine explosion [1]

Rescue Efforts


Name Sourced Bio Connected Category
John L Smith age 62, Coal Inspector No
Ernest McTeer Bell Yes age 38, Driller Yes Yes
Albert Amburn age 34, Battice helper
Walter A. Bell Yes age 37, Cager Helper Yes Yes
Earl Prank Belcher age 35, Mine Foreman
Thomas Cleveland "Cleve" Hale Yes age 56, Bottom Motorman Yes Yes
Luther Tolley age 34, Driller
M. Lawrence Carper age 33, Union Checkweighman
Clarence Hale (1917-1946) Yes age 24, Cager Yes Yes
Pete J Morgan age 50, Brakeman
William Cooper age 33, Main-line Motorman
Ira James Alderson age 18, Check Puller
Albert Miller age 51, Asst Superintendent
James G Gibson age 54, Weigh Boss
Luther Talent age 42, Car Dropper

Results and Findings

As reported by Charleston Gazette, of Charleston, , West Virginia on January 16, 1946, "Thirteen persons were killed and another died subsequently in a hospital but 253 miners escaped today in the most unusual catastrophe ever recorded in a century of coal mining in West Virginia.
Twenty-two other men working deep inside the Havaco No. 9 mine of the New River Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company along the Tug River were injured in an explosion which wrecked buildings in the immediate area.
Whether any other dead will be found in the mine remains to be seen but E. L. Chatfield, inspector-at-large of the state mines department, indicated they did not expect to find any more. [3]
The United State Mines Board made recommendations based on the findings:
  1. Explosives and Blasting: Dynamite/Explosives should not be used for blasting coal mines; each charge should be confined in a properly drilled borehole; boreholes should be suffiient in number, depth; Boreholes should be stemmed; Blasted region should be rock dusted; Instructions of Safe Blasting Procedure to those authorized to charge and fire shots.
  2. Control of Coal Dust: Suppress Coal Dust at all sources; Adequate provision /water sprays; All ledges/flat surfaces kept free of coal dust
  3. Miscellaneous: Every effort should be made to correct a condition reported to the Fire-boss, immediately; Post a "danger board" at the entrance [1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cause of Explosion, page 22
  2. List of men killed, Havaco 1946
  3. Charleston Gazette, Janury 16, 1946: link.
See Also:
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