Millfield Mine Disaster

Besides the unseasonably cold weather and heavy snowfall that blanketed the ground, November 5, 1930 began like any other for the 191 miners working at the Sunday Creek Coal Mine # 6. Nobody knew that ordinary work day would result in the worst mine disaster in Ohio's history.

At approximately 11:45 am., a short circuit between a broken trolley wire and the rail ignited methane gas that had accumulated in the mine shaft. The massive explosion that occurred could be felt many miles away.

Of the 191 miners working that day, 73 men lost their lives. Those not killed by the blast fell victim to the carbon monoxide that filled the mine shafts. The deceased also included the president of the Sunday Creek Coal Company, William Tytus, 4 other mine officials, and 4 visitors. Ironically, the officials were in the mine that morning inspecting new safety equipment.

The Millfield Mine disaster, Ohio's worst mine disaster, occurred November 5, 1930, in a Sunday Creek Coal Company mine in Athens County, Ohio. According to the historical marker at the site in Millfield, Ohio, the explosion killed 82 people, including the company's top executives who were in the mine inspecting new safety equipment. Nine hours after the explosion, rescuers found 19 miners alive underground, three miles from the main shaft. The disaster attracted national press coverage and international attention, and it prompted improvement of Ohio's mine safety laws in 1931.

On a rural road in Millfield stand the ruins of the worst mine disaster in the history of the state of Ohio. The Sunday Creek Coal Company, which also ran the mines at San Toy, operated mines all over the Hocking Hills region. The Millfield site, in Athens County, was the hub of hundreds of shafts.

On November 5, 1930, gases in the mine were ignited by a spark between a trolley car and its railing. The ensuing explosion killed eighty-two people, including the company's top executives, who were there to inspect the new safety equipment. Nine hours later, nineteen miners were discovered alive three miles from the main shaft. The disaster had the effect of pressuring Ohio's lawmakers to improve mine safety regulations in 1931.