Underground Fire: Hope, Sacrifice, and Courage in the Cherry Mine Disaster
About the Book
On November 13, 1909, the coal miners of Cherry, Illinois, went to work, just like any other day. By late afternoon, smoke and fast-moving flames fill the mine’s underground tunnels more than 300 feet below the land’s surface. Hundreds of men were trapped underground. Over eight days, a tragic story unfolds. Alternating with aboveground rescue efforts and belowground terror, it is a tale of heroic rescue attempts, sacrifice, and a group of miners’ hope and absolute will to survive. Underground Fire is rich with archival photographs, primary source documents, and follow-up information about survivors, rescuers, and families.
“… Walker opens her solid account by providing background about mining, immigration, and coal before getting to the events of November 13, 1909, when the Cherry Mine fire started after kerosene from a torch began dripping onto bales of hay…. While Walker draws attention to the corporate greed that led to unfair working conditions, including child labor, readers may also recognize some contemporary parallels to this story, including the rescue of thirty-three Chilean miners in 2010 and twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach in 2018.” (The Horn Book)
“A poignant account of the 1909 Cherry, Illinois, coal mine disaster, one of the worst in U.S. history.” (Kirkus Reviews)