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Empire Coal Company
Empire Mine Explosion

Aguilar, Las Animas County, Colorado
March 31, 1919
No. Killed - 13

Colorado Inspector of Coal Mines Report  PDF Format
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(From the Bureau of Mines Report, by D. Harrington)

Thirteen men were in the mine at 8:45 a.m. when the explosion occurred.  All were killed.

A burned-out motor bearing caused the fan to stop about 7 o'clock, and the mine foreman was notified by telephone from inside the mine at 7:45 that the ventilation had stopped.

He made a search for the mine electrician and at 8 o'clock the electrician went to examine the fan.  He advised the foreman that it would take 2 to 3 hours to make repairs.  The foreman decided to have the men withdrawn from the mine but had not given the order by telephone before the explosion occurred.

Helmet crews were summoned, but it was evident from explorations in natural ventilation to the edge of the explosion area that there would be no survivors.

The bodies were recovered after ventilation was restored in the area.  The ignition of gas was by either a hoist motor or pump motor.  Gas had been found earlier by the fireboss but not reported.

The mine inspector declared the mine foreman and fireboss guilty of negligence and violation of the mining laws.

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I

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