More than two hundred fifty miners lost their lives as a result of a fire that started in the mines of the St. Paul Coal Co. in Cherry, Ill., on Nov. 13, 1909. The United Mine Workers of America blamed their deaths on the failure of the company to alert the miners for two hours--by which time the fire was out of control--and on the inadequacy of both the escape routes and the water supply.
Cherry Mine disaster, mourners and coffins
(Library of Congress)

Read how Albert Buckle, age 16 and John Stuckert, a miner and union official, managed to escape.

Read an excerpt from the State Inspector of Mine's official report