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Sketch of  Cherry Mine  Disaster

Woodblock Letter A
t first we saw nobody, except the four of our own party, but in walking about the shaft, I stumbled over the body of a man lying on the ground. He had been overcome by the heat and was unconscious. All efforts to rouse him failed, and when we departed we were compelled to leave him there, as we had all we could do to take care of ourselves, weakened as we were by smoke and poisonous gases.

   After we had waited some time for the cage to appear we decided to try to reach the escapement shaft, not knowing that the fire had first become dangerous there and was at its worst phase in that part of the mine. The distance between the two shafts was only about two hundred and fifty feet, but before we had gone half that distance we were driven back by the intensity of the heat and the dense smoke. We reached the bottom of the main shaft again choking and gasping for breath, and almost exhausted by the dangers and terrors of our journey.

   In this attempt to reach safety we lost Kroll and his son, and although we called repeatedly to them, so that they would know where we were and could find us, we never saw or heard anything from them. They were found dead in this passage to the escapement shaft after the mine was reopened, clasped in each other's arms. The old man had probably been overcome by the smoke, and the brave boy had preferred to die rather than leave his father to perish alone.

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