Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster (Illinois)

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9780743421942: Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster (Illinois)

On a chilly Saturday morning in the fall of 1909, four hundred and eighty men plunged into the depths of the Cherry Mine in Illinois as they had numerous times before, But this day would be different. At lunchtime, a small fire erupted in the inner recesses of the mine shaft and soon burned out of control. Despite the miners' heroic efforts to save their comrades, many sacrificing their own lives rushing in and out of the blackness, more than half of the men would be either burned to death or buried alive by nightfall. When officials sealed the mine, effectively entombing those still trapped underneath in an effort to contain the blaze, hope for survivors was slim. Miraculously, twenty men emerged alive from the once-raging inferno one week later when the shaft was unsealed. All of these miners -- dead and alive -- would forever be part of the legacy of the worst coal mine fire in U.S. history. Trapped is the riveting account of a tragic day, which inspired the first U.S. worker's compensation laws and hastened much needed changes labor practices in the coal industry. Karen Tintori relates the intimate and devastating details of the Cherry Mine disaster with compassion and conviction, sharing with readers the human drama played out within this historical event. The story, inspired by one intriguing sentence that stayed with a seven-year-old girl long into adulthood -- "Your grandfather survived the Cherry Mine disaster" -- began Karen Tintori's search for her family's role in this horrible tragedy. Along the way, she uncovers a compelling story of victims, survivors, widows, orphans, townspeople, firefighters, reporters, and mine owners, each playing a part in this harrowing drama.

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From the Inside Flap:

On the morning of November 13, 1909, in Cherry, Illinois, four hundred and eighty men were lowered in to the mine for a typical day's work. After lunch, a fire started in a bale of hay in the lower recesses of the mine and soon burned out of control, a fire that is now recognized as the worst mine fire in U.S. history. Despite heroic rescue efforts, more than half of the miners would never see the light of another day. Trapped is the story of these 259 victims, as well as the widows, children, and comrades they left behind. It is also the story of the resulting trial, which brought about the first worker's compensation laws and important changes in child-labor practices in the coal mining industry. Karen Tintori, a descendant of one of the victims, relates the intimate and devastating details of the Cherry Mine disaster with compassion and conviction, sharing with readers the human drama played out within this historical event.

About the Author:

Karen Tintori worked in journalism and public relations before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Michigan with her family

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