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Albion Mining Company
Alta-Quincy Tunnel Exploration Fatality

Salt Lake City, Utah
September 17, 1915
No. Killed - 1

Rescuer Death

On September 17, 1915, Thomas Hendrickson, a foreman of the International Exploration Company, lost his life while wearing a Draeger 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus during an exploration in the Alta-Quincy tunnel, near Salt Lake City, Utah, leased by the Albion Mining Company.

According to newspaper accounts; the drift in which Hendrickson lost his life became filled with carbon dioxide gas, and a day or two before the accident the owners of the Albion mine sent to the Salt Lake City Fire Department to obtain oxygen breathing apparatus, and a captain of the department took two apparatus to the mine.

On arrival at the mine, Hendrickson (who claimed he had wide experience in wearing oxygen breathing apparatus), with a Draeger helmet-type apparatus, and the fire-department captain (who had no experience in wearing apparatus), with a Draeger mouthpiece-type apparatus, accompanied by a group of other men, entered the tunnel.  After traveling some distance their flame lights went out, and they retreated a short distance to where the lights would burn.  The two men with apparatus then turned on the oxygen and proceeded with the exploration, leaving the other men without apparatus at that point.

After traveling a distance of about 2,000 feet, Hendrickson experienced difficulty with his apparatus, and after retreating about 200 feet, assisted by the other man, he collapsed.  In falling, he pulled the mouthpiece and nose clip off the face of his companion, who then tried to break a compressed-air line to get air.  Finding himself becoming exhausted the fire department captain was compelled to leave Hendrickson and retreat toward fresh air.

He was later rescued as he crawled on his hands and knees toward the fresh-air base, by two or three of the men who had been left at the fresh-air base.  Several other men at the fresh-air base had previously been overcome in an effort to reach him.  After recovering, he returned four times to break the compressed-air line, and this later permitted the recovery of Hendrickson's body.

Hendrickson's first name also appears as James and Jack in newspaper clippings, either of which may be correct, instead of Thomas.

Source: Loss of Life Among Wearers of Oxygen Breathing Apparatus (April 1944)
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