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North Butte Mining Company
Granite Mountain Mine Explosives Detonation

Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana
October 19, 1915
No. Killed - 16

Bureau of Mines Investigation Report  PDF Format
See also: Granite Mountain Mine Fire, June 8, 1917

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Fourteen Miners Killed by Giant Powder
Salt Lake Tribune, Utah
October 20, 1915

Butte, Mont., Oct. 19. -- Fourteen men were killed at the Granite Mountain mine of the North Butte Mining company at 1:30 o'clock today by an explosion of 500 pounds of giant powder.

The bodies recovered and identified are:
  • James A. Blow, assistant foreman
  • J. D. Leahy, nipper
  • George Larkin, nipper
  • John McCauley, rope man
  • John Winston, shift boss
  • Lacey Grisham, shift boss
  • Ernest Watson, shift boss
  • R. I. Watson, sampler
  • Richard Gendle, electrician
  • Ed Carlson, top carman
  • Paddy Morrissey, shift boss
  • William Benton, electrician
  • William Butcher
  • James Powers
The cause of the explosion has not been determined.

Three men were engaged early this afternoon in lowering powder to the 2500-foot level.  One car containing about 500 pounds of giant powder was at the collar of the shaft waiting to be lowered, after which a number of horses and miners were to go below.  Five of the men were waiting in the "dog house," a small room near the shaft, when suddenly the explosion occurred.

John Davey, the only one of the three at the surface to survive the explosion, left the car to get a timber 100 feet back from the shaft.  He was thrown to the ground by the explosion, but was not badly hurt.

The blast swept away the frame structure in which the men were waiting at the shaft, together with the air shaft beside the steel gallows frame.

Two painters were at work on this air shaft at the time of the explosion.  Neither was killed, but both were injured.  Many of the bodies were in fragments.

John D. Pope, general manager of the North Butte company, said tonight that they had no theory as to the cause of the explosion.
"To the best of my knowledge," said Mr. Pope, "no one was at the car of powder when it exploded.  There were between ten and twelve boxes of powder in the car when it went off.  If there were ten boxes, that means that there was 500 pounds of giant powder."

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