Eight days after the fire began rescue workers came upon 13 bodies. All had died within hours after the accident of carbon monoxide gas. None of the bodies were burned, and the men appeared to have been relaxed when death made its silent approach. Two men were eating from their lunch buckets. One man was found in a kneeling position with his arms encircling a timber, and was apparently praying when he was over-come with the deadly gas. Freda Enyart Horvath, wife of Berti, believed this to be her husband, and wrote him a goodbye letter after she heard the news.
Josh Chafin, Jr. of Pine Creek was found still clutching the note he had written to his wife. The note was delivered to his wife twelve hours before the first body was brought to the surface. The note read: Mable, I love you more than you will ever know. Take care of the kids and raise them to serve the Lord.” It was signed, “Jr.” . . . the name he went by. Josh and his wife were members of the Central Baptist Church on Holden Road.
The bodies were wrapped in blankets and plastic bags, and carried to the base of a 485-foot elevator shaft. They were lined up neatly to await their return to the surface. A heavy wet snow fell covering the ground. The men were taken to the Harris Funeral Home which was chosen as a central station where families could claim the remains and make funeral arrangements. The last two miners to be recovered were Charles Adams and Louis Workman.
It took nine days to recover the bodies. Seventy-two children were left fatherless and sixteen wives were made widows by the mine disaster. The following is the list of miners who perished at 22 Holden:
Charles Adams, 46; Frank Ardis, 63; Ernest Bevins, 35; Okey Bryant, 49; James Carter, 30; Josh Chafin Jr., 37; Roy Lee Dempsey, 52; William Donaldson, 53; Garfield Hensley, 43; Berti Horvath, 32; Flint Lock Jarrells, 39; Albert Marcum, Jr.; Melvin Newsom, 46; Isom Ooten, 43; James V. Lundell, 26; Orville Sargent, 32; Carl White, 39; and Louis Workman, 32.
Ironically, Kyle Blair who escaped death at the Island Creek No. 22 mine disaster, died tragically in another mining accident about 1974. He was a mine foreman on the tipple at a Boone County mine, and fell into a coal crusher.