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Phoenix Mine Explosives Disaster

Phoenix, Keweenaw County, Michigan
Friday, February 13, 1874
No. Killed - 6
* This was 1 of 4 disasters which occurred on Friday the 13th.

Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel News Article  (2.2 Mb)  PDF Format

At 7 p.m. on Friday, February 13, a horrible accident occurred at the Phoenix Mine in which five men, including one of the mining captains, were instantly killed and another of the mining captains was fatally injured.

As the miners were going into the mine at 7 o'clock in the evening, four of the men went to the captain's office to get some Dualine to blast with in the mine.  While the mining captain was delivering same, a frightful explosion took place by the ignition of one hundred pounds of dualine and seventy-five pounds (3 kegs) of blasting powder.  Instantly, five men were blown in the air.  Some parts of the building were thrown at least five hundred yards and one of the bodies was throw about three hundred yards.  The bodies were frightfully mutilated.  Not a body was left with the legs on.

The names of the victims are Captain Richard Johns, mining captain; Joseph Marks, miner; James Marks, miner; Frederick Striker, timberman; and William Dunn, miner.  The head mining captain, John Hoatson, was in an adjoining room and was fatally wounded.  He died on the morning of the 15th.

The last person who saw them stated that Captain Johns was preparing a charge for a sand blast, assisted by the others.  He said the dualine was frozen and they were picking out the dualine with a file.  The captains office was completely destroyed, even down to the sills.  A building that was quite a distance away had one side and its roof blown off.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 paricipated in the funeral procession for the five killed on the 13th.  Also in attendance were four Orders; The Independent Order of Good Templars; The Temple of Honor; The Independent Order of Philanthropic Society; and The German Benefit Association.  The mining captain who died on the 15th was buried the next day.

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