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Osceola Consolidated Mining Company
Osceola Copper Mine Fire

Calumet, Houghton County, Michigan
September 7, 1895
No. Killed 30

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Thirty Men Suffocated in a Michigan Mine
Colorado Transcript, Golden, Colorado
September 11, 1895

Calumet, Mich. Sept. 9. --- Saturday afternoon a fire broke out in the shaft of the Osceola mine at this place.  Thirty men were at work in the mine at the time, and there seems no possibility that they can have escaped suffocation.

It is learned that the place where the fire caught was the worst place that it could have caught in the whole mine, and the only place in the mine where fire of any extent could have caught.

Many of the men that were working several levels below the twenty-seventh, which place the fire caught, were seen as far up as the thirteenth level working their way up.  Several of the men who escaped claim to have passed others on the ladders.  They were unable to proceed further on account of being overcome with smoke and gas.

At the time the alarm was sounded over 200 were underground, and all would have escaped had they used proper precautions.  Several miners in their flight passed a group of seven or eight men who had stopped to rest and were smoking their pipes.  They seemed to be in no hurry, or think of danger.  When told to hurry to the surface they remarked that they had plenty of time and not one of them reached the surface.

The skips were kept running up and down all day Saturday in order to give any of the entombed miners a chance to escape if they could reach the skip alive, but none came up.  Another attempt will be made to reach the men in the morning.

There is no danger of the bodies being burned, as it is generally thought the men escaped from the burning shaft to some of the drifts leading to other shafts and were overcome by gas and smoke before they could reach a place of safety.  This being the case, the bodies will be recovered as soon as the fire is gotten under control and the gases leave the mine.

The shaft has been surrounded all day by thousands of people, all hoping that some sign or word would be gotten from the men, but have now all returned to their homes, fearing the worst.  All hope has been given up by the officials of ever rescuing any of the men alive.

Ten miners went down in the southernmost shaft of the Osceola mine this afternoon.  They reached the twenty-fourth level and made their way to within 250 feet of the burning shaft, when they were forced to return on account of the deadly gas.  Another party went down No. 1 shaft to a depth of 280 feet, but was also compelled to run back.  The entire mine is full of smoke and gas, and all hope of finding any of the entombed miners alive has been given up.

It is thought that the fire is out, but it will be several days before the mine will be clear of smoke.

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