The following information was published in the Miners Memorial book that was printed in September of 2015 at the time of the dedication of the Memorial. This page includes newspaper articles collected about the large mine accidents in Carbon County. To see a list of all the miners that have died in mine accidents in Carbon county visit The Miners Memorial Page.
Winter Quarters Mine Explosion
May 1, 1900
MINE HORROR WORSE THAN FIRST REPORTED
Three Hundred to Four Hundred Men Entered the Scofield Coal Mines and a Majority Were Killed by the Explosion or Suffocated to Death. "At 10:30 this morning 201 bodies had been recovered-supply of coffins in Salt Lake exhausted and more have been sent for to Ogden, Provo, and Denver-forty dead ready to be taken from one tunnel-young girl falls dead on learning of the death of her third brother who yesterday made an effort to rescue those in the mine-thousands of dollars subscribed for the afflicted families.
Salt Lake, May 2 - A special to the Deseret News from Scofield, says, 10:30 a.m. At this hour two hundred and one bodies have been recovered. It is now known that between three hundred and four hundred men entered the mines and it is also known that a great majority of them have been killed.
The appalling feature of the disaster had not fully dawned upon the people of this place last night as the company kept the grief stricken wives and children away from the scene of operations.
All night long lights were kept burning in every home in Scofield and Winter Quarters and the moans of mothers and piteous cries of the many orphans are heartrending.
The two camps have always been conspicuous for the large number of married men employed. This fact makes the disaster more appalling and far-reaching in its results.
Several families have been robbed of all their male representatives. In the Hunter family, seven are missing.
Among the dead are about twenty young boys who acted as couplers and trap boys.
Just how the catastrophe occurred is not known and probably will never be definitely known as various reasons are being attributed.
At Provo a mass meeting has been held for the relief of the families of the victims and $3,000 subscribed.
Supt. W. G. Sharp, of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, resumed work with a rescuing party of sixteen at 8 o'clock this morning, directed by State Mine Inspector Thomas.
The first body taken out today was that of Walter Clark, the young man who forced his way into the mine yesterday to rescue his two brothers.
In the interim a procession of litter bearers was seen coming down the hill from No. 4 mine. Amid sobs and groans the ghastly procession moved to the railroad track where their burdens were placed in box cars. The bodies were all frightfully mutilated. Within a short time, thirteen bodies had been placed in the improvised morgue.
It is said that the rescuing party has forty bodies piled up in the tunnel which will be brought out at one trip. Seventy-five bodies already have been prepared for burial. The Rio Grande Western will call a force of graders from Clear Creek to dig graves.
Lizzie Clark, sixteen years old, a sister of Walter Clark fell dead at her mother's feet this morning when she heard of her brothers' death.
At Salt Lake the supply of coffins has been exhausted. Additional coffins have been ordered from Provo and Ogden and an order for seventy-five more has been placed in Denver.
Active measures of relief are being taken here by the state and county officials and several subscription lists have been started. Armour & Co. through their local agent, has donated a shipment of beef, bacon and canned goods.
There are willing hands at work, and as fast as bodies are reached they are brought down to the boarding houses and other company building where they are dressed and prepared for the coroner's inquest.
Theories as to the direct cause of the explosion differ materially. Bishop Thomas Parmley, superintendent of the operations here, gives it as his opinion that the explosion was brought about by giant powder which was taken into the mine by some of the miners that exploded in some unaccountable way, igniting the dust, and thereby causing the explosion.
This mine has been worked for over twenty years, and has the reputation, according to State Mine Inspector Thomas, of being one of the best ventilated and protected in the west.
Nine-tenths of the men killed are Americans and Welsh. The former come mostly from Utah, with a small number from Tennessee and Colorado. No sooner was it understood to be an explosion that Bishop Parmley headed a rescuing party of twenty men and tried to gain an entrance into No. 4 through the opening of No. 1, but the men were soon forced back by the fire damp. Finding the rescue impracticable by this route, the parties then headed for No. 4. Here they found the air beginning to circulate, and after clearing away the fallen and dead horses at the mouth of the mine they entered about two hundred yards when they came upon the dead bodies of six of the men.
John Kirton was the first one brought out at about 12 o'clock, his whole scalp being burned to a cinder and his face unrecognizable. He was still alive and apparently conscious, crying out in agony for his fellow comrades to end his misery by killing him on the spot.
In the meantime, John Wilson, who had been blown with his horse two hundred yards across the canyon from the mouth of the mine, had been discovered. The back of his skull was crushed and some solid substance had been driven through his abdomen.
Thomas Sellers, who was working about fifty yards from the mouth of the mine on the outside, had his right foot crushed back, hand and shoulder knocked out of place. Sandy Wilson, also on the outside, was hit by flying timbers, and his life is despaired of. Harry Taylor had his jaw broken and John Beddoes was severely bruised. These men were all on the outside.
The rescuing party inside the mine discovered William Boweter lying in the midst of several dead, and with assistance he walked to the mouth of the mine and was saved.
All men on the raise known as Pike's Peak were lying in clusters.
John James, a county commissioner, was found with his son, George, entwined in loving embrace in each other's arms.
All these men had apparently realized that death was coming for all were found as though in attitudes of defense. Some had their cloaks about them, others had tried to protect themselves by burying their faces in the ground floor of the mine, hoping thus to escape the deadly gas that was fast enveloping them. They must have lived for some time in prayerful expectation of rescue reaching them.
One of the saddest incidents of the disaster is in the fact that eight members of one family perish, taken away by death at one fell blow. They are the Hunters, and they were formerly residents of West Weber and Kanesville. Andrew Hunter, living at present at Kanesville, formerly an employe of the mines at Scofield, was notified last night by wire of the death of his relatives, and this morning he came to the Standard office for further information. He stated that among the dead are eight of his relatives: Adam Hunter, his son; Robert Hunter, with two sons; William, John and David Hunter. Adam and Robert Hunter are brothers of Andrew Hunter; while the latter three are cousins of Andrew Hunter. The death of the three boys leaves but one young boy of the family, and there is one cousin still living. Some years ago, there was another brother killed in the mine at Almy, and Robert Hunter married his widow. One of the sons killed was a son of the widow by the brother killed at Almy.For the full news article go to: Utah Digital Newspapers
Reported by the United States Department of Labor:
The miners who worked at Winter Quarters No. 1 and No. 4 had much to be thankful for that last weekend in April 1900. Many had wives and families in the company's houses in and around Scofield; the camps had even come to be known as the "married men's camps." Others were working to save enough money to bring their families to the burgeoning West. With a new Navy contract for 2,000 tons of coal per day due to being the first of May, the miners were getting all the work they could handle, and the company could not fill all its orders. Scofield was growing, and new houses in various stages of completion dotted the hillsides along the valleys and canyons. In an elegant new hall that was only partially finished, the local lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows, held a ball Friday night to celebrate the first of May. The miners were also grateful that the quarantine flag had come down following a period in which no new cases of smallpox had been reported and that an epidemic of measles also was abating. School children eagerly awaited Tuesday's May Day celebrations.
On Tuesday morning, more than 300 miners entered the two interconnected mines; some were accompanied by their sons who worked as couplers and trap boys. Since it was the first of the month, many miners carried new 25-pound kegs of black powder with them to their rooms. There they would make up their charges to shoot down the coal.
Work was well under way in both mines by midmorning, and miner William C. Wilson and his partner were waiting for a boy to return with the car so they could load their coal from a room off the back main entry in the No. 1 mine, about half a mile from the workings of No 4. The two men felt a mild shock in the mine's air . . . . . When the boy stopped the car, the look on his face told the two men that something was wrong. . . . Soon another miner ran up to the three workers and confirmed Wilson's growing fears. "Explosion! You had better get out!" They needed to hear no more. The acrid smell of burning materials was strong as they made their way toward the portal of No. 1, but they were blessed with good air all the way to the surface. Several other groups of miners were not far behind. More than 200 men had been working in Winter Quarters No. 1, deep in the belly of the mountain, when the explosion occurred. Wilson and his partner were among 103 miners who would reach the safety of Winter Quarters Canyon. Once there they all began to learn the magnitude of the terrible accident.
For those working on the surface near the portal of No. 4, there was no doubt about what had happened. Around 10:25 that morning, a low rumble had come from the depths of No. 4 and grown like rolling thunder. The portal belched smoke, dust, hot, foul air, burnt powder, splintered timbers and mangled mine cars with a force that was difficult to imagine. Then came a disquieting stillness. According to reports that those at the scene later swore were true, a coal car driver, working near the mouth of No. 4, had been thrown 200 yards across the gulch at the mine entrance, his horse thrown half that distance. When rescuers found him, he was still alive, although the back of his skull was crushed and a stick had been driven into his abdomen. He and three other injured miners were later taken by special train to St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. Miraculously, he survived his injuries and returned to Scofield three weeks after the explosion to recuperate.
Will Clark, a young miner who had been working outside at the time of the explosion, entered the mine with the first rescue party. Disregarding warnings of more experienced miners, Clark raced ahead alone to find his father and brother who were in the mine, but ran right into the lingering afterdamp (a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other gases that forms after a mine fire or explosion and is irrespirable) and died before help could reach him. Bernard Newren, another member of Parmley's party, was also overcome by the deadly afterdamp, and the group was forced to retreat. Later, Newren regained consciousness.
Superintendent Parmley's crew, making slow progress, found three men, alive but unconscious, near the mine entrance. Badly burned and almost unrecognizable, the first miner to be carried out screamed in pain and begged his deliverers to kill him. His suffering would last for more than a day before death freed him. A second miner died as rescuers carried him to Edwards' boarding house near the mine entrance. The third man, William Boyter, Jr., required hospitalization at St. Mark's. Boyter and Jacob Anderson, a miner who had been working alone off the first rise in a room that was untouched by the explosion's force and intense heat, were the only men to escape with their lives from workings of Winter Quarters No. 4
By noon, Parmley's men had made their way about 200 yards into the No. 4 mine. There they found the bodies of six men, the first of 83 bodies of friends, relatives and fellow workers that ultimately would be removed from this mine by volunteer rescue crews. As the burned and disfigured bodies were carried from the mine, the litter carriers were greeted by the wails of grief-stricken widows and orphans and by saddened faces of others who tried vainly to comfort the victims' families. Among miners yet unaccounted for early that afternoon was Thomas Parmley's brother, William, the mine foreman at Winter Quarters No. 4.Rescuers then returned to the entrance of No. 4 and, finding that air was beginning to circulate there, started clearing away debris and moving dead and fallen horses that blocked the entry.
The progress of rescue and recovery teams was agonizingly slow at the No. 4 mine. Rescuers had to contend with dislodged props, obstructions caused by cave-ins and piles of debris resulting from the violent explosion. Despite those problems, the procession of grim-faced volunteers carrying their lifeless loads seemed endless, and the boarding house that was first to be used to treat injured miners quickly became a makeshift morgue. Relatives and friends identified many victims, but many bodies were burned and mangled beyond recognition. Throughout the day and into the night, the pile of torn and burned clothing removed from the dead miners grew into a small mountain outside Edwards' boarding house.
Soon the boarding house could not accommodate any more victims, and bodies in bags were loaded onto boxcars, carried down the canyon into Scofield, and from there, taken to the schoolhouse to await the work of the undertakers. Meanwhile, gangs of carpenters were put to work to make up the shortage in available coffins.
Early Tuesday evening, May 1, 1900, Inspector Thomas arrived at the Winter Quarters mines. By then, 50 bodies had been taken from No. 4. Thomas assembled a rescue party that included W. G. Sharp, Superintendent of the Pleasant Valley Coal Co., and Castle Gate Mine Superintendent Frank Cameron and led the group into the No. 1 mine at about 8 p.m. Among the first bodies they found was that of young William Clark, who had succumbed to the afterdamp while trying to find his father and brother.
Thomas led his men down the main entry of No. 1 and up the eighth rise to the face of what was known as the No. 4 mine's Farrish level, which joined the No. 1 mine's seventh rise and which provided the shortest escape route from the deepest workings of No. 1. Two-thirds of the miners who perished in No. 1 were found at the head of the seventh rise. Not knowing where the explosion had occurred, they had run right into the afterdamp that swept down that rise following the explosion. Thomas, in his report to the governor, would later write, "There is no doubt in my mind that had these men gone down the eighth rise they would have all saved their lives, for had they gone down the eighth rise they would have encountered fresh air."
One member of Thomas' rescue party, a miner who had come to Winter Quarters from the company's Castle Gate Mine, described the scene to a reporter. "We had some hard experiences today going through the mine. Several times, members of our party were overcome by the damp, but we got them out in time. We found bodies of the men in every conceivable shape, but generally they were lying on their stomachs with their arms about their faces. The men died almost instantly when struck by the damp and did not suffer. They just became unconscious and were asphyxiated. Their faces were all calm and peaceful as though they had just fallen asleep.
"The men in No. 1 might possibly have escaped had they started to run as soon as the explosion in No. 4 . . . occurred," the miner continued, his voice tinged with sadness. "Evidently, they did not appreciate this fact until too late, as they put on their coats and arranged their tools before starting. They started, however, just in time to meet the damp halfway."
In some homes, the burden of grief was especially heavy. Several Scofield families lost all their male members in the explosion. In one family, Robert Hunter, his three sons and four of his nephews were dead. John James, a miner who also served as one of Carbon County's commissioners, was discovered by one of the rescue parties with his son at the spot where both were overcome by afterdamp, entwined in each other's arms. Abe Louma and his wife, who had come to Scofield from Finland only three months earlier to enjoy the prosperity of the "new" country with their sons and grandchildren, lost six sons and three grandsons in an instant. The mine camps of Scofield and Winter Quarters that had been known as married men's camps were now widows' camps.
The company had provided each of the dead miners with a casket and a suit of burial clothes. It also absolved families of the victims of debts accumulated at the company store during April. In addition to the $20,000 the company contributed to the relief fund shortly after the explosion, the company offered $500 to the heirs of each man killed, and most readily accepted the company's offer, in lieu of all claims for further damages. The relief fund would amass more than $200,000 from sources that included the company, communities, individuals and benefit events.
Castle Gate Mine
March 8, 1924
DUST EXPLOSION TRAPS 173 MINERS.
GAS FILLED WORKINGS BLOCK EFFORTS OF RESCUE WORKERS IN CASTLE GATE COAL MINE.
CREW BENT ON SAVING LIVES OF ENTOMBED MEN PENETRATES SLOPE TO WITHIN 800 FEET OF SCENE OF OPERATIONS WHEN LEADER IS ASPHYXIATED AND OTHERS ARE FORCED OUT BY DEADLY FUMES; LITTLE HOPE OF FINDING VICTIMS ALIVE.
Castle Gate, Utah, March 8. -- (AP) - George Wilson of Standardville, Utah, head of a mine rescue crew was asphyxiated early Saturday night when attempting to reach the 173 men entombed in the Utah Fuel company's No. 2 mine here. Other members of his rescue party had to be carried out. There were three explosions apparently caused by accumulation of dust in the mine shortly after 8 o'clock Saturday morning. The first one was followed in about a minute by another and a third occurred 20 minutes still later.
Wreckage was thrown across Castle Gate canyon nearly half a mile. The mine entrance, the air shaft and the escape shaft are filled with gas and rescue work is impossible. The next step will be to brattice up the mine entrances and pump in fresh air. At present rescue crews can make little headway. It is estimated one rescue crew went into the mine about 2,500 feet, or within 800 feet of where some of the men were known to be at work when the explosion occurred. At this distance, however, the rescue workers were forced back by the gas.
The mine is about two miles from Castle Gate and the canyon road was crowded with relatives of entombed men, and automobiles which brought people from surrounding towns of this coal mining district made progress slow. The exact fate of the men in the mine is undetermined. While the gas in the main shaft, the airway and the escape tunnel is strong enough to knock out helmeted rescue men, it is believed possible that some of the miners have been able to brattice up the way and thus save their lives.
The check board of the mine was blown down by the explosion and for this reason there is no accurate list of those in the mine. On the check board are hooks and little brass number plates.Identification Tags Lost.
Upon going into the mine each man takes with him a number. The explosion scattered those checks not taken, and therefore nothing in the way of a list has been given out. Some people here are of the opinion that it will be Sunday or perhaps Monday before any of the entombed men are found.
To add to the tragedy, most of the men entombed are married and have families. Only two weeks ago, with times slack and orders scarce, the company cut down the working force by laying off single men or men who had no dependents.
George Wilson, superintendent of the coal company, is the first known victim. He was asphyxiated Saturday afternoon while leading a rescue crew into the mine. Five of his comrades were overcome by the powerful gases, but were revived by the first-aid workers. WILSON was picked up about 500 feet from the main entrance.
No official list of the men entombed can be obtained because the rack upon which the brass identification checks are placed by the miners as they enter the mine was wrecked by the explosion.
Destruction of the fan has hindered materially, but this will be in operation Sunday, it is thought, and rescuers hope that the blasts from the fan will be sufficient to clear the mine of a large part of its gases. Rescue work is still being attempted, however, but no progress can be made until the fan has been placed in operation.
The first explosion occurred between 8:15 and 8:30 o'clock. It was violent, according to people who were on the outside, and it was immediately followed by another destructive blast. Twenty minutes later a third followed.Rescue Trains Arrive
Nurses and doctors arrived from Salt Lake City by a special train at 3 o'clock. Mine rescue cars are en route from Dawson and Butte. The rescue force at the mine is made up of volunteers from various other mines in the district. The Red Cross is rushing aid to the families of the entombed miners and other organizations and lodges are preparing to care for the sufferers.
The rescuers are working frantically to remove the debris at the main entrance as hundreds of onlookers peer with sorrow from the surrounding hills. Mothers, wives, sisters, brothers and relatives of the entombed miners look on with anxiety.Wives Stand Silent and Sad
In the town of Castle Gate, old women and wives, who are generally at the gate to meet their husbands and sons coming home from work, stand silent and sad. Telephones and electric light poles, and timber that was near the mouth were blown across the valley, which in nearly a mile wide. The second explosion devastated the fan house and added to the damage of the first. The third, 20 minutes later, completed the destruction, by causing a cave-in. The office building, a hundred feet from the shaft, was partially destroyed.No Evidence of Life
Rescue teams have been able to penetrate the main drift of the Utah fuel mine No. 2 for a distance of 500 feet, it was announced at 10 o'clock Saturday night. No bodies were found. Neither was there any evidence that any one remained alive in the mine.
Another crew penetrated the escapeway for something over a thousand feet without discovering any bodies.The Billings Gazette Montana 1924-03-10
FIRE DELAYS MINE RESCUERS -- HEROES SEEKING DEAD OF 175 ENTOMBED HELD UP BY CAVING TUNNEL -- ONE HELMETMAN DIES OF ASPHYXIATION AS NOSE PIECE BECOMES DETACHED IN GAS FILLED GALLERIES; SEVERAL CHARRED BODIES BROUGHT OUT; HUGE BONFIRES WARM HUDDLED CROWDS.
Salt Lake City, March 9. -- Fire broke out, Sunday afternoon, in an emergency exit of the Utah Fuel company mine at Castle Gate, Utah, and rescue work was held up several hours before it was extinguished.
A further cave-in in the main tunnel, which necessitates the removal of a large quantity of timbers and debris, occurred and also delayed rescue work through that passage.
A glimmer of hope for some of the miners was expressed when a pile of tools was found by searchers and no bodies in the vicinity. It is thought that some may have barricaded themselves from the gases.
Additional rescue workers were gassed, Sunday morning, but none were fatally injured.
Castle Gate, Utah, March 9. -- (AP) -- Ten charred and mutilated bodies had been removed, Sunday, from mine No. 2 of the Utah Fuel company, in which 175 miners were entombed, Saturday, as the result of an explosion. About 20 other bodies had been located, but had not been removed from the mine. Gas in the inner recesses of the mine is hampering the work of rescuers, it is understood. It is generally believed all of the miners perished.
There are approximately 20 bodies on one of the slopes in the mine, but it is impossible to reach them because of obstructions, according to two helmet men who came out of the workings at 6 o'clock in the evening.Brave Deadly Gases
Five of the removed bodies were identified as George Harrison, William Pollock, W. A. Berg, George Fillstead and Jack Thorpe. Two bodies, headless and badly charred, have not been identified.
The interior recesses of the mine are filled with poisonous gas, according to helmet men, and they have to proceed cautiously. There is no shortage of men willing to risk like to get to comrades within the mine.
Two helmet men were overcome, and late Saturday, George Wilson, head of a crew from Standardville, died from asphyxiation when the nose piece of his helmet became detached several hundred feet inside the main portal.Work In Bitter Wind
Rescue crews are getting better organized, but just how long it will be before all of the mine can be explored is uncertain. A United States bureau of mines car arrived Sunday from Wyoming and government officials are lending all possible aid.
The Knights of Pythia's hall here is being used as a morgue and the bodies recovered from the mine have been taken there.
The mine in which the disaster occurred is located in Castle Gate creek canyon and Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday a bitter cold wind swept down it from the north, causing great inconvenience to those laboring at the portals.Hardly a Family Escaped
According to mine officials, there is hardly a family or person in Castle Gate who has not a relative or a close friend in the mine. Rescue work at the mine is in charge of mine officials and the Red Cross is extending its efforts among the families of the men entombed.
Only rescue workers, mine officials and newspaper men are allowed to go up the canyon to the workings. Deputy Sheriffs are on guard at the mouth and only those who are known to them or have credentials are allowed to pass. This step was taken to exclude the curious.
As is customary, United States bureau of mine officials are using canary birds to test out the gas in the mine proper. The men at work in the inner recesses have on helmets, and when they find bodies, they take them to others working without gas protection equipment who are working nearer the entrance.Canteens Serve Coffee
At each of the two mine portals, canteens where hot coffee and food is served to those doing rescue work have been established. The morale of the rescue workers is excellent. As soon as word of the disaster became known throughout this section, Saturday, picked rescue crews from other mines were hurried to the scene and they have worked like Trojans ever since. Occasionally mine officials have pleaded with some of the rescue men to stop and take a rest, but their plea is that the men are still in the mine and they must continue. Two officials of the National Guard reached here, Sunday morning, and conferred with mine company officials as to what or anything they could do to help. They brought with them a large supply of blankets, but these are not necessary.Mourners Huddle by Fires
As the bodies are brought from the mine, they are put on stretchers and carried to the Knights of Pythia's hall, which has been turned into a temporary morgue. Undertakers from surrounding towns are here to help take care of the dead and prepare their bodies for burial.
Great excitement prevailed in this section, Saturday night, and the roads leading to Castle Gate were crowded with automobiles and other vehicles carrying people to the scene. Huge fires were built at many places and around these huddled men and, in some cases, women and children, anxious for news of dear ones missing. Up to late Sunday, there had not been enough of the bodies taken from the mine to warrant a decision on funeral plans, but, this step will be taken as soon as practicable.Manti Messenger, March 14, 1924
DEAD ARE BEING GIVEN UP AT CASTLEGATE AS RESCUERS WORK
Heads Drop as Hope of Finding Men alive dwindle; rescuers are rapidly reaching inner workings of mine - Little Town of Castle Gate, Utah, is scene of most pitiful scenes as corpses are brought from tomb and placed upon wooden slabs for identification by loved ones; mine officials doing all possible.
Castlegate --- The agony of suspense as to the lives of the 173 miners entombed in Saturday morning's explosion at the Utah Fuel company's coal mine here is ended for the families of many of the victims. The worst is the news that they have feared. For the others, while the worst, too, will probably be their mete, hope none the less will linger while yet the outcome is at all uncertain. Bodies are being rapidly recovered but it is thought it will be several days before all have been found.
Out at the mouth of No. 1 left escape way, where the work is being carried on, encouraging word of progress brought the best news since the disaster happened. Yet rapid as was the progress of Monday as compared with that of the hours before, the dangers which beset the rescuing squads call for the upmost caution.
Gas helmeted crews still lead the way in the searching of the inward chambers of the mine, followed by those who bring fresh air, water line and the means for clearing the passageways as they are encountered.
The search must extend into even the most remote recesses of the labyrinth below ground before it will be possible to say with certainty that all is known that might be known about Utah's greatest tragedy in more than two decades-one of the worst mine disasters in the history of western mining.
While sober judgment holds to the fatalistic conclusion that every man caught within the mine is dead and possibly has been dead for two days and more, the hope of safety for a few at least cannot be downed. And yet the day's results, added to the efforts made before, have yielded nothing upon which it is possible to accurately base such expectation.
As the funeral car and a mail truck, impressed into the somber service, have alternated during the day in their tragic journeys from mine to morgue, the town has watched their comings with over recurrent fear on the part of nearly everyone that a member of the family or a friend will be found at the journey's end.
Yet every time one of these carriers of death came halting at the morgue door the tear-eyed throng would press about until men of the American Legion were enlisted as guardians to hold the crowd in check.
Thereafter, the waiting people hurried at each new visitation of the hearse to read the growing list of identified dead posted in the lobby of the post office nearby.
And out on the hillside, almost over the tunnels where lost miners now lie dead, graves were dug to give them places for their eternal rest.
A possible seventy-five men of those buried in the No. 2 mine of the Utah Fuel company at Castlegate have a chance of being rescued alive, and may be even now waiting and aiding their rescuers, according to local officials of the company.
Estimates of the company show that approximately that many men were working near the areas not susceptible to being readily filled with gas and the probabilities of men escaping from the trap were increased when officials of the company explained the lay of the ground.
Although it is not known who the men are or exactly what their number may be it is reported that about forty were working in Section C and that a possible thirty-five were at work in or near the part referred to as section B.
Men closely identified with the company explained that these two sections are approximately a mile distance from section A, from which the more than forty bodies were taken up to a late hour Monday night, and that the sections are much higher than those in which the men are being found dead.News Advocate, March 5, 1925
LEST WE FORGET
Somewhat lighter are the hearts today which just a year ago were thrown into the depths of despondency when two heart rending crashes wiped out the lives of 172 men and blocked the way of manpower in their efforts to reach their brothers in toil. Still another life was lost by one who gave his all that some of his companions might survive the flame of fire which swept the underground workings of the ill-fated Castle Gate mine.
Now there are as many small mounds of earth, monuments of those who but a few hours before the explosion had entered the bowels of the earth in the fulfillment of earthly toils. Husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, and sweethearts, all returned to the dust from whence they came.
Yes, no doubt many of the hearts are somewhat lighter today than on that cold morning of March 8, when word was broadcasted nationwide telling of one of the greatest disasters in mining annals, and still many hearts are yearning for the return of those so dear.
And while it is beyond our power to bring them back into our fold, we still may honor them in remembrance, in observance of the day on which they marched into the jaws of death, God fearing sons of Eternity.
That not only those who were affected by loss of life within the family may show their respect for the disaster victims, plans are now shaping for a mass observance at Castle Gate. Churches, civic organizations, welfare associations, lodges and military organizations are cooperating in the memorial services. Special rates for those who are relatives of the deceased are offered by the Denver & Rio Western railroad, that they may return and join in the services March 8.
February 6, 1930
DEATH TOLL REACHES TWENTY IN UTAH COAL MINE EXPLOSION.
Carbon Monoxide Gas Blamed For Disaster Near Salt Lake City -- Nine of the Twenty-Nine Men in the Mine at the Time of the Explosion Were Rescued -- One Man Sacrifices Life in Useless Effort to Rescue Brother.
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 7 (AP) -- Twenty dead was the definitely established toll tonight of the gas explosion in the mine of the Standard Coal company at Standardville, Utah.
Nine of the 29 men who were at work in the mine when the explosion occurred last night survived. Five were rescued by crews from nearby mining communities today and the other four escaped last night. The five taken out today had bratticed themselves from the deadly gas fumes, far back in the workings and had left notes directing their rescuers where to find them.
Explanation of the explosion advanced by members of mine rescue crews is that a pocket of carbon monoxide gas became ignited by spontaneous combustion.
The disaster was the first major accident the mine had suffered.
Many of the dead in last night's disaster were married men with large families. With the stoicism characteristic of the omen folk of men who go down into the earth to win their livelihood, the women received from the mining company all available information concerning their loved ones, and bore their bereavement heroically.
Offers of aid poured in on them today, but Governor George H. Dern expressed the belief that it would not be needed, since the state's workingmen's compensation fund would care for their wants for some weeks to come. The Carbon county chapter of the Red Cross had a representative on the scene to arrange for necessary relief.
One aspect of the tragedy stood out today with peculiar vividness. That was the realization with the discovery of Frank Pritchett among the little company that had erected a barricade against the deadly mine gas, that his brother, T. E. Pritchett, had sacrificed his own life in a useless effort to find him among the menacing fumes.
T. E. Pritchett was among the fortunate few who escaped last night from the workings. He reentered to seek his brother. He was among the dead discovered in the mine today.
Andy Doherty, pump boss, might also have been in that number had it not been for a friendly pool of water. Rescuers came across Doherty, who, overcome by the fumes, had fallen face downward, but they were prevented by the gas from approaching him. When they reached him later they found the water had protected him from the fumes.NEWS ADVOCATE, Price, Utah, Thursday, February 13, 1930
Deadly Fumes Kill Twenty at Work in Tunnels; Three Men in Rescue Crew Killed By Cave-in --- Official Investigation Launched To Determine Blast Cause; Work of Clearing Mine Starts; 9 Saved
Twenty-three men, three of whom were members of a rescue crew, lost their lives as the result of an explosion in the mine of the Standardville Coal company Thursday evening about nine o'clock. The disaster was one of the worst in the history of mining in Carbon County. Of the twenty-nine workers in the tunnel at the time of the blast, nine escaped and the remainder were cut down by the deadly fumes of carbon monoxide, which came down No. 1 and 2 panels were the majority of the victims were being employed. It is believed that the explosion occurred in No. 3 mine, probably from sparks from a cutting machine, but this matter has not been definitely determined and may never be anything but a topic for speculation.
The three men who were killed while in an effort to reach the bodies of Frank James, Toby Wimber and C.H. Brady in No. 3 were crushed by a rock measuring 7 by 17 feet. Rescue work was temporarily stopped, but resumed the next morning. The victims of the cave-in were fresh air crew endeavoring to air the gas filled panels. The dead: John R. Loman, 24, Cobollo, New Mexico; Clarence E. Smith, 36, Great Falls, Montana, and Walton Henderson, 18, of Standardville.
Those who were rescued are: Ruvie "Curly" Monroe, Gerald Banasky, M.H. Clelland, Andy Dougherty, Clawson Elliot, Barney Johnson, William H. McGuire, Virgus E. Olson, and John F. Pritchett.
March 8, 1930
FIVE MINERS KILLED IN UTAH EXPLOSION; EIGHT ARE RESCUED. TRAGEDY OCCURS IN PEERLESS COAL PROPERTY NEAR CASTLEGATE; TWO BURNED AND GASSED MEN ARE CARRIED TO ENTRANCE BY COMRADES; ACCIDENT HAPPENS JUST BEFORE NIGHT SHIFT COMES TO WORK IN SHAFT.
Salt Lake City, Mar. 8. -- (AP) -- Five men were killed in an explosion in the Peerless Coal Company's mine near Castle Gate, Utah, late today, officials of the concern were advised here tonight. Eight men escaped alive after the blast.
Five bodies were taken from the mine shortly after the explosion.The Dead:
Ross and King were burned about the face and hands and badly gassed. They owe their lives to BAIN and Canrinker, who placed the injured men in a mine car and signaled to have it drawn from the mine, but the apparatus was damaged by the explosion and failed to function. Bain and Canrinker then carried Ross and King toward the entrance of the mine until they encountered fresh air.
Gas filled the mine immediately after the explosion, the cause of which was not determined. Those who escaped were working nearer the entrance than the five men who lost their lives, giving them a chance to escape before the fumes flooded the workings.
A night shift of miners was ready to enter the shaft when the blast occurred. Had the explosion been 30 minutes later the toll of life would have been much greater.News Advocate March 10, 1930
Loses Four in Mine Blast
John Taylor, state coal mine inspector, gave this opinion following a thorough inspection of the workings Sunday afternoon.
While the state was conducting its official investigation, the Red Cross was offering aid to the stricken families and assisting in alleviating the sorrow.
Probability that a quadruple funeral will be held over the bodies of Will Curtis, Lester Curtis, Clement Turner and Dan Turner was expressed by the relatives. Will Curtis is a half-brother to the two Turners, while Lester Curtis is a brother-in-law. The rites will be held either in Price or Wellington.
Mrs. Clara Curtis Turner, mother of Will Curtis and Clement and Dan Turner and mother-in-law of Lester Curtis, has not decided upon definite arrangements.
James Jensen will be laid at his final rest in Lawrence, the family home. The date has not been set.
The Rolapp hospital reported that Alvin Ross, afternoon shift boss, and L. S. King, rope rider, who were seriously burned by the gaseous fire, are resting easily.
Ross, the most seriously injured showed improvements Sunday after having passed a restless Saturday.
The blast originated in the second crosscut, where Lester Curtis, William Curtis and James Jensen had been working.
There was little evidence of the explosion in the mine, the inspector said. Some smoke was present, but the property damage was small.
Mr. Taylor was accompanied on his inspection by Lynn H. Thompson, Ezra P. Thompson, vice president; W. W. Murdoch, secretary; Ross Brown, Robert Howard, mine superintendent; George Howard, foreman, and Robert Turner, engineer of the Peerless company.
It was only Wednesday that Mr. Taylor made his regular inspection in the new mine, and reported the company was taking every precaution to guard the safety of its workmen.
After the Sunday examination, the inspector again reiterated his conviction that the officials had done all within their power to protect the men who mine the coal.
Mr. Taylor and Lynn H. Thompson will again make an examination of the workings on Monday, after which the inspector is expected to sanction the resumption of operations in the rock tunnel.
O. F. McShane, state industrial commissioner, conferred with relatives of the ill-fated men, and also interviewed some of the eight men who escaped alive. He will submit his report to the commission early in the week.
The cool judgment of Ole Swanson is credited with saving the lives of D. W. Hull, Roy Story, and Frank Hensley, who were found huddled beside a broken compressed air nozzle in the rock tunnel. The men at first thought that they should attempt to escape through the re-entry, but Swanson is said to have persuaded them to remain near the nozzle to receive the full benefit of the escaping air.
Tony Kamricker and Victor Bain were rescued from the back entry, being the first men to be taken from the mine, a few minutes after the explosion at 4:45 o'clock.News Advocate - March 13, 1930
Gas Explosion in New Peerless Mine -- Kills 5 Workers; Crews Rescue Eight from Shaft Alive
Five men, employees of the New Peerless Mine in Price Canyon were killed Saturday afternoon when trapped by a gas explosion. There were thirteen men working within the tunnels, when the blast occurred at 4:45 p.m., and eight of these were rescued alive. Two of them, however, were burned so badly they were taken to the Rolapp hospital.
Immediately after the explosion rescue crews from Peerless entered the tunnels to find the trapped workers, and other crews from Castle Gate, Rolapp and Standardville arrived on the scene to offer assistance. Taking of the men from the mine was accomplished in slightly over an hour and a half after the blast. Robert Howard, superintendent of the mine had charge of the rescue work.
.... Dr. L. H. Merrill, physician at the Rolapp hospital where Ross and King were taken, reports that they continue to improve and would probably be able to leave the hospital within ten days unless pneumonia set in or they absorbed poison from their burns. Both men were badly burned on the face, arms and back.
On death certificate cause of death listed as: "Shock and asphyxiation in mine explosion accidental, instantaneous death".Newspaper Article - FUNERAL FOR THREE SONS
Son-in-Law, Also Disaster Victim, Will Be Buried With Others.
HEINER - March 9 - Mrs. Clara Curtis Turner hopes to bury her three sons and her son-in-law side by side as they had worked in recent years together "under the hills".
For her three boys and the husband of her daughter met a tragic death Saturday when the gas blast swept five to an untimely death.
Will Curtis, Clement Turner, and Dan Turner were her children, while Lester Curtis was the husband of Mrs. Turner's daughter. These four men and James Jensen were the quintet which fell, victims of the gas explosionNews Advocate, March 13, 1930
Explosion Dead Receive Honors - Quadruple Service for Victims Held In Price Tabernacle Wednesday
Quadruple funeral services for four victims of the New Peerless mine explosion were held from the L. D. S. Tabernacle at Price Wednesday afternoon. Dan Turner, his brother, Clement, Will Curtis and Lester Curtis received final honors together, while services for James Jensen, the fifth man who met his death in the tunnels were held at Lawrence.
Mrs. Clara Turner of Wellington is the mother of the two Turner boys, Will Curtis and mother-in-law of Lester Curtis. The brothers were laid side by side in the Wellington cemetery and the Curtis boys were buried in Price.
Speakers at the service were Bishop E. E. Branch, Wellington, Bishop Will Stapley, Castle Gate, Bishop W. E. Stoker, Price and E. L. Miner, Heiner. Albert W. Shiner of Price had charge.
Williams Elise Curtis was born August 15, 1890 in Vernal, Utah the son of William Avery and Clarissa Adelaide Morgan Curtis. He is survived by his widow Edith Pearson Curtis, and mother, Mrs. Clara Turner.
Lester Curtis, a resident of Heiner was born August 11, 1901 in Rock Springs, Wyoming the son of Ourm and Mary Curtis. Surviving him are his widow, Mrs. Pearl Curtis Johnson Curtis and the following children: Curtis, Floyd, Lawrence and Glen.
Dan Turner was born May 18, 1906. He is survived by his widow, Wilma Jesson Turner, two children and his mother, Mrs. Clara Turner. His brother Clement was born February 3, 1907. Surviving him are his widow Golda Branch Turner, two children, Elva and Bonnie and his mother.
James Lafayette Jensen was born in Canada May 29, 1906. He is survived by his parents, Lafayette and Christina Knibb Jensen; his wife, Sylvia Arnold Jensen and one child, Betty Elaine.
May 9, 1945
MINE BLAST KILLS TWENTY-TWO Explosion Wednesday Afternoon Injures Seven Others at Sunnyside
Bodies of twenty-one men were recovered by Thursday night from the Utah Fuel company mine at Sunnyside following a terrific explosion about 3:15 Wednesday afternoon. One more man is known to be in the mine and it is believed that another one is also somewhere in the workings, but their bodies have not yet been recovered, according to information received from the mine office.
The known dead who are now in Price mortuaries as listed by mine officials are as follows: Joe Padilla, Jim Bailey, James Gilmore, Clell Forsyth, Nick Sandoval, Jim Jardine, Pedro Gabaldon, Cornelius Della Corte, Henry Bradak, Virgil Stamper, Charles Niitsuma, Joe Montoya, Tom Virgil, James Wycherley, John Martinez, Warren Hotchkiss, Laurence F. Figuera, Manuel Trujillo, Efran Manzanars, Ira Hill, Irvin Leonard.
The body of Bud Walton is known to be in the mine and the exact whereabouts of Orville Stubblefield has not been definitely established.
Names of the injured men who are now at the Dragerton hospital but reported to be not seriously hurt are: Tony Trujillo, James Colman, Edward Edwards, John Gutierrez, Lupe Sandoval, Tony Leger and Martin Dean.
The explosion occurred as the day shift was preparing to leave the workings, eleven men working in the first right had reached the main entry at the time. Of these, four were killed and seven hospitalized at Dragerton. The main explosion occurred in the third left where at least eighteen men were working, and it is expected that all of these were killed.
Most of the bodies were not badly burned except on the face and hands, and experienced miners are of the opinion that me….. (End of article not included)The Ogden Standard-Examiner Utah May 10, 1945
23 MINERS KILLED IN GAS BLAST AT SUNNYSIDE MINE.
BLAST IS GREATEST IN UTAH HISTORY SINCE MARCH, 1924.
Sunnyside, May 10 (UP) -- Twenty-three Carbon county coal miners were dead today -- victims of a terrific gas explosion about two miles underground in the Utah Fuel Co. No. 1 mine.
The blast was the greatest Utah mine disaster since the explosion in the Castlegate mine, another Utah Fuel company building, in March, 1924, in which 173 miners were killed.
The seared bodies of 21 of the victims were recovered during the night. Rescue crew of 35 continued to dig through the coal-strewn tunnels of the mine in search of two remaining workers. They were believed buried under several tons of coal brought down by the blast.
Seven miners were critically injured and were hospitalized in nearby Dragerton. Those killed were taken to mortuaries in Price, Utah.
S. C. HARVEY, chief coal mine inspector for the state industrial commission, said 87 men were working in the mine at the time of the explosion. Fifty-seven escaped injury. They were working on different levels in the mine. Harvey attributed the explosion to gas.
Members of the Utah industrial commission were expected to arrive at the disaster scene early today to investigate the exact cause of the explosion. Harvey said only the use of rock dust firebreaks prevented greater damage to the mine shaft.
The blast occurred about three-fifteen p. m. yesterday -- 4 minutes before the men were scheduled to go off shift.
CARL WESTERBERG, manager of the fuel company's Sunnyside operations, said the explosion was about two miles inside the mine. He said he believed it was caused by gas or coal dust.
Persons at the surface said the blast sent flames shooting up the shaft, damaging the mine tipple. The mine's ventilating shafts also were burned.
Rescue workers reported they were hampered in their search for additional victims by fallen coal and mine timbers. They added, however, that no area of the mine was sealed off as far as they could determine.
During the early part of the rescue work, crews wore masks as protection against possible gas. At latest reports, however, fresh air was being pumped through most of the mine.
All medical facilities in the area were mustered into service for aid to the injured.
"We put our faces down to the mine car rails and followed the rails away from the blast," Craig said, in an Associated Press dispatch.
One of his companions, Cliff Mahan, said: "It was a terrible sight."
STANLEY HARVEY of Price, a state coal mine inspector who led the rescue crews, expressed the belief that methane or marsh gas caused the explosion.
CARL WESTERBERG, project manager of the company's Sunnyside operations, told reporters that "the accident apparently was caused by a gas explosion in the left district, where the blast seems to have been the most severe."
Nearly 60 other miners in the shaft reached the surface safely and one of them said the fact no cave-in followed the blast helped hold down the toll of lives lost.
"If the shaft hadn't been straight, none of the crews would have lived," he said.
The explosions occurred in the third left entry of No. 1 dip about two miles from the mine entrance. Some of the bodies were severely charred and the clothes of one miner were ripped off his body.
Rescuers with breathing apparatus from the Columbia, Horse Canyon, Castle Gate and Kaiser Company mines toiled through the night to bring out bodies.
Available records indicated the explosion was the third worst mine disaster in Utah's history. The worst occurred at Scofield May 1, 1900, killing 200 men. On March 8, 1924, 175 men were killed at Castlegate.
Gov. HERBERT B. MAW said he was "very much shocked" at news of the explosion. "A thorough investigation will be made of the cause of the blast," he said, "and every available means employed to remedy conditions causing such calamities."
All three members of the state industrial commission -- Chairman S. M. ROYLE; R. H. DALRYMPLE, safety division chairman, and O. A. WIESLEY -- came here from Salt Lake City to investigate.The Sun-Advocate, Price, Utah - May 17, 1945
FUNERALS ARE HELD FOR MINE ACCIDENT VICTIMS THIS WEEK
The funeral services for fifteen of the miners killed in the Sunnyside explosion on May 9, were held in Price and Sunnyside throughout the week. The other eight bodies were removed to cities outside of Carbon County for burial.
Virgil Thomas Stamper, 23, Price, was born at Trent Kentucky on October 5, 1921. He was survived by his wife, Mildred Ann, and two children, Virgil and Baley Lee. He was a machine operator. Services for Mr. Stamper were held at the Mitchell Funeral home on May 12, with burial in the Price City cemetery.
The services for James Jardine, 42, Wellington, were held on May 12, under the direction of the Sunnyside local union officials. He was born in Blantyre, Scotland, and is survived by his wife, Margaret, and two children, Mrs. Ann Morley and Margaret Jardine. He was a face boss.
The services for Denshire Nittsuma were held on May 13. He was born in Japan, on Feb. 41, (sic), 1899 and is survived by his wife and eight children. Mr. Nittsuma was a loader at the mine.
The funeral for Marius Henry Bradak, 57, Sunnyside, was held on May 13. Mr. Bradak was born in Austria on July 8, 1888. He is survived by his wife, Alice R., and two children. Marius, Jr., and Mrs. Alice B. Ball. He was safety foreman.
Services for Irving Leonard, 48, Price, were held on Sunday, May 13. Mr. Leonard was born at Kamas on Sept. 4, 1897, and is survived by his wife, Eunice, and children, Ray, Jean, Monty, and Bonnie. He was a pipe loader.
The services for Cornelio Della Corte were held on Monday, May 14. Mr. Della Corte was born on Oct. 4, 1891 in Sovramonte, Italy. He is survived by his wife, Carmela. He worked as timber man.
Services for Clell Forsyth, 36, were held on Monday, May 14. Mr. Forsyth worked as machine operator at the mine. He is survived by his wife, Etta, and three children, Patricia, Robert, and Diane.
Services for Thomas D. Vigil, 73, were held on Monday, May 14. Mr. Vigil was born in Tales, New Mexico, on Dec. 23, 1871. He is survived by his wife, Idalina, and a son Edward. He was a conveyor loader.
Laurence Figueroa was buried on May 14. He was born on Aug. 10, 1906 in Mexico. He is survived by his wife, Mickey, who lives in Silver City, New Mexico and three children, Eddie, Lucille, and Junior. He was a machine operator.
Services for Warren W. Hotchkiss were held on Monday, May 14. Mr. Hotchkiss was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 10, 1893. He was a hoist man.
Services for James Robert Bailey were conducted on Tuesday, May 15. Mr. Bailey was born in Marion, North Carolina, on Feb. 22, 1905. He is survived by his wife, Anna Mae.
The funeral of Nick Sandoval was held, Wed. May 16. Mr. Sandoval was born at Springer, New Mexico on Sept. 19, 1917, and is survived by his wife, Mary, and two children, Christopher and Alice. He was a motorman.
The services for James Wycherly were held on Tuesday, May 15. He was born at Scofield, Utah on April 20, 1908. He is survived by his wife, Thelma Wycherly and three children. He was a loader at the miner.
Pedro Gabaldon was buried on Tuesday, May 15. He was born in San Jose, New Mexico on Nov. 5, 1893. He was a loader.
Funeral services for James Gilmour were held Wednesday, May 16. Mr. Gilmour was born at Brazil, India on May 15, 1901. He is survived by his wife, Lottie and daughter, Dorothy. He was a face boss.
The bodies which were shipped away for burial were Bud Walton, to St. Louis, Missouri; Manual Trujillo to Lyden, New Mexico; Efram Mansanares to Ignacia, Colorado; Orville Stubblefield to Spanish Fork; Joe Montoya to Durango, Colorado; Joe Padilla to Cuba, New Mexico; Ira Hill, to Athens, Ohio; John Martinez to Murray.
Mr. Walton was born at Bermingham, Ala., May 11, 1890. He is survived by his wife, Alice and two daughters. He was a loader.
Mr. Trujillo was born at Lyden, New Mexico on Dec. 2, 1917. He is survived by his wife, Carita, and three children. He was a loader.
Mr. Mansanares was born at Blanco, New Mexico and is survived by his wife, Martha and four children. He was a loader.
Mr. Stubblefield was born in Spanish Fork on Jan. 11, 1918. He is survived by his wife, Norma and two children. He was a conveyor loader.
Mr. Montoya was born on Oct. 9, 1905 at Durango, Colorado. He is survived by his wife, Eufenia, and four children. He was a loader.
Joe Padilla was born in Espinola, New Mexico, and is survived by his wife, Amelia and four children. He was a loader.
Ira Hill was born at Ironton, Ohio on June 7, 1897, and is survived by his wife. He was a duckbill operator.
Mr. Martinez was born in Mexico on Nov. 27, 1907. He is survived by five children.
The bodies of Virgil Stamper, James Jardine, Denshiro Nittsuma, Marius Bradak, Irvin Leonard, Cornelio Della Corte, Clell Forsyth, James Bailey, Nick Sandoval, Pedro Gabaldon, James Gilmour, Orvil Stubblefield, Joe Montoya, Joe Padilla, and Ira Hill, were taken care of by the Mitchell Funeral Home.
The Wallace Mortuary conducted the funerals or removal of Thomas Vigil, Laurence Figueros, Warren Hotchkiss, James Wycherly, Bud Walton, Manual Trujillo, Efram Mansanares, and Joan Martinez.
Carbon Fuel Coal Mine
December 16, 1963
9 Killed, 10 Escape in Utah Mine Blast; Officials Put Blame on Methane, Dust
Clair Self, Kaiser Safety engineer, one of the first into the explosion site, said it was his opinion that it was caused by gas. There was no "roof fall" nor any fire when it occurred.
The conveyor belt used to haul the coal out of the mine was "in shambles" Mr. Self said.
The bodies of the dead miners were lashed to ore cars after the air was cleared enough by the ventilation system for rescue teams to work. The first was brought to the surface at 6:10 p.m.
The explosion came without apparent warning in the westerly shaft of two in the mine.
One rescue worker said, "I don't think they even knew what hit them."
Marion Gonzales, a train operator, working in the easterly shaft, said he did not hear the blast.
"All of a sudden there was a tremendous cloud of smoke. I felt a big rush of air, but I did not here any explosion."
Carbon County Sheriff Albert Passic and Chief Deputy Charles Semken, Jr. said the explosion was heard at the entrance of the mine, however.
Heavy, white smoke billowed out of the mouth of the shaft about half an hour after the blast.
Rescue workers hastily rigged up lines to feed fresh air into the explosion area as some 25 men prepared to go into the mine which was blocked by debris and heavy smoke.The dead in the blast were identified as:
Chris Diamanti, brother of the company president and underground manager in the mine, said he had been working in the blast area all morning and had gone to the east drift about 20 minutes before the explosion.
"The concussion popped our ears but we heard no blast. We figured it was a "bounce" (cave-in) and started to probe for it toward the west shaft," he said.
"When we were about half way over, I contacted Jim (his brother) who told me what had happened, and then we made sure all the power in the mine was off," said the company official, one of the first to go into the explosion area.Salt Lake Tribune Dec. 18, 1963
Clyde Calls for Full Probe of 9-Death Mine Disaster
MARTIN, Carbon County - Investigators here Tuesday went into the shattered depths of Carbon Fuel Co., No. 2 mine, seeking the cause of a blast that killed nine miners Monday.
Inspectors representing state, federal and union groups theorized that methane gas had caused the explosion-but were unable to pinpoint that as the exact cause.
A complete investigation of the blast had been ordered by Gov. George D. Clyde. State Industrial Commissioner Casper Nelson and Steve Hatsis, state mine inspector, were among officials on the scene Tuesday.
The Blast, which ripped through the mine's tunnel network Monday at 11:50 a.m. was the second fatal mine explosion in Utah in four months.
On Aug. 27, 18 workers were killed in an explosion at Texas Gulf Sulphur's potash mine near Moab.
Nine men in the carbon mine at the time of the Monday explosion escaped injury. A tenth, Jesus Nunez, who was only 2,000 feet from the blast's center, was reported in good condition Tuesday in Carbon Hospital at Price.
Gov. Clyde said Tuesday that the mine had been checked by a federal inspector in October, and was due for a state inspection in January.
The mine had been considered one of the safest in the West. A federal inspector said if the mine had not been "rock dusted" - a safety measure using pulverized limestone-the blast could have been more extensive.
As investigators probed through underground debris left by the blast, funeral arrangements were made for the dead.
The nine victims were found in a 1,000 square foot area deep in the mine.