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No Hope for Men in Cherry Mine

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Date: 24 Nov 1909 [unknown]
Location: Cherry, Bureau County, Illinoismap
Profile manager: Nan Starjak private message [send private message]
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Believed Now 189 Still in the Death Tunnels All Have Perished.


Fire Eating Way Toward Pockets of Gas May Cause Explosion Which Would Kill the Rescuers.

Cherry, Ill., Nov. 24 -- After innumberable delays, bickerings and disagreements, state mining inspectors and company officials announced there was little hope that any of the 189 miners still entombed in the St. Paul mine here were alive. The men have been in the death mine ten days now, and it is the opinion of all that they have perished.
While many of the imprisoned miners may have been alive last week when twenty of their number were rescued, it is now believed they have succumbed to starvation, thirst or poisonous gases.
It was hoped that many of the entombed miners had taken refuge in the third vein of the mine following the disastrous fire. Members of the rescue party descended into the lower tunnels early in the day, but found no signs of life. Only one part of the lower vein is situated so that men could live there, it is declared. Thi s is the overcast, and it was believed that if any of the miners were to be found alive, they would be at this place.

No Life in Third Vein

The rescuers waded through 3 feet of water to the overcast, but there was not a sign of life. They also shouted several times in order that the entombed miners, if they were alive, would know that rescue was at hand. They received no answer to their shouts. Great portions of the tunnels had collapsed. It is believed many men were buried under the debris, and if the obstruction is not soon cleared away at least 100 bodies may never be dug up.
There remains only the east end of the second vein. In this part of the mine it is believed the bodies of the missing miners will be found. It is said the air in the level is such that none of the entombed men could have sustained life.
W. W. Taylor, general superintendent of the St. Paul mine, who has been hopeful all along that other lives might be saved, declared that he was confident all of the entombed miners were dead.
All the time a stubborn fire is eating its way through coal deposits directly toward a large pocket of highly explosive gases, which may be ignited at any moment. Despite the fight being made against the blaze by firemen, fear of a terrible explosion which would kill everyone in the mine and wreck the shaft, has become a terrible menace.

Belleville News Democrat
Belleville, Illinois
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 1909
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