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22 Killed at Clarksburg, West Virginia Mine

Apr. 26, 1963 - The tragedy at Compass No. 2 mine, 15 miles northwest of Clarksburg, West Virginia, where 22 men were killed late last night in a terrific explosion of methane gas and coal dust, entered its inevitable sequel today when rescue squads began bringing up the bodies of the victims. The first three bodies, wrapped in white sheets, emerged from the shaft on a coal car shortly after noon. The bodies were recovered in the places where the men normally worked. They had made no effort to throw up a barricade against the flame and the blast. There had been no time. Thus it was assumed that the men who were working further back — at the working face of the mine where a chance spark presumably ignited an accumulation of gas — must have met instant death. The explosion occurred at about 11 p.m. The mine normally has a working crew of 185 men. Fifty-one were in the mine at the time of the explosion, and twenty-nine staggered out from the pit mouth shortly afterward. The nation’s worst mine tragedy occurred at Monangah, 16 miles north of Compass No. 2, on Dec. 6, 1907, when an explosion killed 361 men.

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