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Essay on Centralia Number 5: Disaster Approaches

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From February 7, 1942 to the deaths of 111 miners on March 25, 1947, Centralia Number 5 was a disaster waiting to happen. So many things could have been done that were not. Scanlan's first report on February 7, 1942 was a premonition of the disaster to come. Scanlan as an inspector should have and could have done more to prevent this tragedy. This paper will discuss the four measures that Scanlan could have taken to avoid the catastrophe that resulted in so many deaths.
The Clock Begins: The Choices Available Life is unpredictable. So many things that happen are beyond man's control. However, Centralia Number 5 was not one of them. This incident was a calamity waiting to happen. There were several points along this path of
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Scanlan's decision not to close down the mine is a reflection of what happens when "mock bureaucracies" become the norm. Scanlan's based his decision not to close down the mine on the assumption that the Director would reopen the mine and fire or replace him with a more "reasonable inspector". In government one of the first things a person learns, is to follow the chain of command. Your supervisor is not the last step, but the starting point. When a supervisor fails to perform, their legal, ethical, or moral duty, the next step in the chain is to report him or her to their supervisor and so on. Scanlan started using the chain of command and then stopped. When his initial attempts met with failure, as a public administrator, Scanlan had a duty to protect and ensure the enforcement of state laws. When his reports went unanswered, he allowed political bias to prevent him from doing the right thing. "The saddest part [ about coal mining safety] is that in many instances the bias takes the form of concealing or glossing over unsafe conditions or practices" (Harrington, 1926, p. 97). As a public administrator, Scanlan had the duty and obligation to make sure his reports went to correct person. If this meant hand delivering them, then he should have done so. Following the chain of command goes hand in hand with being an active
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