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Pacific Coast Coal Company
Carbonado Mine Explosion

Carbonado, Pierce County, Washington
April 12, 1930
No. Killed - 17

USBM Final Investigation Report  (3.5 Mb)  PDF Format
Washington Mining Fatalities 1885-1960  (1.1 Mb)  PDF Format

See also: Carbonado Mine Inundation, Apr. 8, 1927

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Successful Rescue

16 miners were rescued from behind a barricade several hours after an explosion in the Carbonado mine in Carbonado, Washington.  Source document  PDF Format

An explosion in the mine of the Pacific Coal Company at Carbonado, Washington, on April 12, 1930, killed 17 men.

The timely action of a fire boss in erecting barricades saved the lives of 16 men.  A rush of air gave warning that something had happened, and the fire boss hurriedly assembled his group and began to investigate.

When they encountered smoke and fumes, they short-circuited the air, retreated to a rock tunnel, and erected 2 canvas barricades.  They were able to walk out unassisted after ventilation was restored several hours later.

17 Miners are Killed in Explosion
Plattsburgh Sentinel, New York
April 15, 1930

Tacoma, Wash., April 13 (AP) -- The last of 17 bodies, victims of an explosion in the Carbonado mine of the Pacific Coast Coal company was taken from the mine today and placed in a temporary morgue.

Wives and families of the miners who had pressed against a rope barrier about the mine entrance maintained their vigil until the work was complete.  Then they went to their homes indifferent to the investigation which started immediately to determine the cause of the blast.

Carbonado is a small mining village high in the foothills of the Cascades.  Without facilities for caring for the 17 mine victims, the bodies were taken to Buckley and Enumclaw, nearby towns.  Twelve of the victims were married.  Besides the widows, 23 children survive.

A broken air hose on a drill may have saved 60 other miners, mine officials declared.  The day shift of 60 working on the Douty seam in the second level where the blast occurred, failed to fire the customary final shot because of a break in their drill hose.  The smaller afternoon shift of 21 men which went on duty at 4 p.m. yesterday took a new section of hose into the workings.  Mine officials believed the crew repaired the drill, placed charges and then fired them -- and that this caused the explosion which killed the 17 men outright.  Four miners of the night shift were far separated from the other 17 and were uninjured.  They did not witness the accident and could suggest no reason for its cause.

The gas explosion was the worst disaster in the history of coal mining in western Washington.  Prior to yesterday's tragedy, the greatest toll in a mining disaster was in November, 1910, when 16 lives were lost in a similar explosion in the Lawson mine at Black Diamond which has since been abandoned.

The deceased:
  • Sylvester Barker, 34
  • John L. Bates, 31
  • Philip Fleis, 22
  • John E. Flood, 54
  • Ray Glackin, 36
  • David J. Hughes, 48
  • William Kennedy, 25
  • R. C. Legge, 32
  • William Matson, 42
  • William E. McMurphy, 28
  • John O'Leary, 52
  • L. B. O'Neal, 45
  • Alfred Parkin, 38
  • Victor Pete, 31
  • Thomas J. Shackley, 30
  • Martin Sheridan, 46
  • Ed Wali, 43
Source: Washington Mining Fatalities, 1885-1960  (1.1 Mb)  PDF Format

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