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Rocky Mountain Coal & Iron Company
Tercio No. 3 Mine Explosion

Tercio, Las Animas County, Colorado
October 28, 1904
No. Killed - 19

Colorado Inspector of Coal Mines Report  PDF Format
From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Slavs And Mexicans Are Mine Victims
The Ogden Standard, Utah
October 29, 1904

Trinidad, Colo., Oct. 29. -- The Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company's mine No. 3 at Tercio, forty miles west of this city, was so badly wrecked by the explosion which occurred yesterday that rescuers have not yet succeeded in penetrating to the point where miners were working.

Estimates at the time vary from twenty to sixty.  They are mainly foreigners and not known to Americans in the vicinity.  The mine company's officials have no record of the number working, though it is known that only 21 men went into the mine yesterday.  According to reports, not verified, many more men went into the mine in the afternoon.  It is regarded as certain that none of those who were in the mine when the explosion occurred are now alive.

The mine is a sloping tunnel, over 2,000 feet long.  Rescuers entered the slope as far as room 13, which is 200 feet from the mouth.  They succeeded in reaching this point only after most dangerous work and after crawling through many narrow places.  At this point they encountered a solid wall of rock that had fallen from above, and closed the passage.  Room 26, where most of the men are supposed to have been working, is 600 feet from the mouth of the tunnel, or 400 feet beyond the point to which the rescuers penetrated.

Only one body has been recovered, that of T. Dorean, a driver, who was just entering the tunnel, when the explosion took place and who was terribly burned.

"The report that sixty men were in the mine at the time of the explosion is untrue," said Coroner SIPE, after visiting the scene of the accident.
"I believe there are twenty entombed in the mine and that all are dead."

"I think the explosion, which caused the roof of the mine to cave in, was a dust explosion.  The mine is well ventilated, without artificial devices.  No bodies were recovered last night.  The edge is burning and many of the bodies may be cremated, thus making it impossible to ascertain exactly the number in the mine."
There were only two Americans in the mine, George Brandenburg and John Hatton.  The others were Slavs and Mexicans.

Company officials deny that there were more than twenty-one men in the mine at the time of the explosion, but miners have today estimated the number missing at 63.

No bodies were taken out up to noon today and miners at work say the bodies may not be reached before night and perhaps not then.  The further relief workers get into the tunnel the worse the conditions are found to be.  The tunnel and crosscuts are piled full of timbers and rock.  All hope of finding any of the entombed men alive is now abandoned.  One air shaft had been opened.  There is no fire in the mine.

Only four Americans were killed.  They are: Ed Haddon, Tom McKown, Frank Sutter and Charles Brandenburg.  The others killed are Slavs and Mexicans.

Crash Heard For Miles

The crash was so terrific that it was heard for miles, and the vibrations were distinctly felt at Newton, twelve miles away.  It seemed as if an earthquake had occurred, so violently did the earth tremble.  Smoke, dust and dirt were blown from the tunnel and air shaft in heavy, black volumes.

Broken timbers, huge chunks of coal and blocks of all sizes were hurled hundreds of feet from the portal of the big bore and fell on and around the tipple that stands directly opposite the mine.  People who were near the mine were showered with sand, stones and dirt.  Some of the stones landed fully a quarter of a mile away.

The local officers of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company refuse to give out the names of the men who were employed in the wrecked mine, on the ground that it is inaccurate, because many changes had taken place during the past few weeks, and because no list is kept on the "Contract" coal diggers.

The Following List Of The Dead Miners Is Taken From --
The Trinidad Chronicle, Colorado
October 31, 1904
  • Frank Satler
  • Trinidad Duran
  • Jim Ricci
  • Rocco DeGregorio
  • Sam Rossetti
  • Mike DeGiacomo
  • John DeCamillo
  • Leopold Lanotine
  • Curino Tunde
  • Ed Hatton
  • George Brandenburg
  • Amigo Colichio
  • Tony Tiht
  • John Opiena
  • John Urbas
  • John Barega
  • Joe Barega
  • Thomas Mckeon
  • John Pilzer

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