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Mine Disasters in the United States

Oakdale Coal Company
Oakdale Mine Explosion

La Veta, Huerfano County, Colorado
August 18, 1919
No. Killed - 18

USBM Investigation Report  (594 Kb)  PDF Format

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Score Missing in Mine Blast
Eau Claire Leader, Wisconsin
August 19, 1919

Trinidad, Colo., Aug. 18. -- Nineteen or twenty men are believed dead, buried under the debris from the explosion at 11 o'clock this morning in the Oakdale Mine of the Oakdale Coal Company, near La Veta, Colo.  At 6 o'clock tonight five rescue crews had been unable to recover any of the bodies.

Fumes from the gas explosion tonight filled the mine and several rescuers were overcome and were revived with difficulty.  Owing to the wrecked condition of the mine, and gas fumes, it was considered doubtful whether the full death list could be learned tonight.

Approximately 40 men were in the mine when the explosion occurred.  Ten escaped through the main slope after the explosion and ten others made their way to the surface through an adjoining mine.

William Davis, a miner, one of those overcome by the explosion, recovered sufficiently to make his way to the surface.  None of the others have been heard from.

The explosion occurred about a mile and a half in the workings of the mine.

Tonight woman and children, relatives of the missing men, eagerly waited at the mine for word from the rescue crews.

List of the Casualties:
  • Joseph R. Franks, 28, single
  • Juan Balterio, 34, single
  • Tony Barrello, 22, single
  • James Bly, 21, married
  • William Christopher, Fire Boss, 47, single
  • Frank Dirchio, 32, single
  • James England, 67
  • John Farrero, 27, single
  • Jacinto Garcia, 28, single
  • A. Guialini, 32, married
  • Mike Johnson, 34, single
  • John Macaine, married
  • Charles Monson, 41, married
  • Joseph Morgueski, 29, married
  • M. Muzzies, 33, single
  • Alfred Oxford, 17, single
  • Frank Pyke, 39, single
  • John Soltis, 28, married

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