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Mine Disasters in the United States


Kemmerer Coal and Coke Company
Kemmerer No. 4 Mine Explosion

Kemmerer, Lincoln County, Wyoming
January 20, 1912
No. Killed 6

(From Bureau of Mines Report, by J. C. Roberts)

At about 4 p.m. a coal-dust explosion caused by a blown-out shot of black powder resulted in the death of 6 men and injury to 20 others.  The mine foreman on the surface heard a rumble and saw smoke issuing from the mouth of the slope.  He ordered the fan speed increased and notified the company office and the Bureau of Mines car No. 4.

He went into the mine and was overcome but revived and crawled up the slope.  The rescue car arrived at 4:45 p.m. and rescue crews with breathing apparatus recovered the bodies and the injured in a short while.  The explosion had little force and did not damage the mine.  All coal was shot off the solid.  Haulageways were watered once a week.


Five Die in Wyoming Mine
Plateau Voice, Collbran, Colorado
January 26, 1912

Kemmerer, Wyo. -- The explosion in coal mine No. 4 of the Kemmerer Coal and Coke Company at Willow Creek was not as serious as at first reported although five are dead and nine were injured, while nine others were overcome by blackdamp and were removed to a local hospital.

The dead are:
  • James Smith
  • James Hansen
  • Peter Hanlon
  • Tom Dixon
  • James Ward
The injured were taken in a special train to the state hospital at Rock Springs.  They are:
James Doran; William Sullivan; Matt Tonich; Simon Edwards; William Cozock; R. Soto; S. Emino; James Botsworth and John Bainton.

P. J. Quealey, owner of the mine, was at Laramie attending the funeral of his nephew when news of the explosion reached him.  He returned to Kemmerer by special train and directed the rescue work, being assisted by State Coal Mine Inspector George Blacker, Frank A. Manley, assistant general manager and James Needham of the Union Pacific Coal Company and W. M. Mooney, Superintendent of the Central Coal and Coke Company.

Although an exhaustive examination of the mine has been made, the officials have reached no definite conclusion as to the cause of the explosion.  About two thirds of the shift had left the mine when the explosion occurred, although there were about 100 miners and others on shift when the accident occurred.  The colliery is in good condition, the air fans at no time being out of commission.



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