Reserve, BC Coal Mine Explosion, May 1915

NANAIMO MINE DISASTER.

THIRTEEN LIVES BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST AS RESULT OF EXPLOSION IN RESERVE MINE -- THREE BODIES RECOVERED.

Nanaimo, B.C., May 27. -- The long immunity which Nanaimo has enjoyed from serious accidents in local mines was rudely broken today, when a disastrous explosion occurred at the Reserve mine of the Western Fuel company, at 4 o'clock this afternoon, just after the change of shifts. At the time of the explosion there were 86 men in the mine, and of this number thirteen escaped unhurt and reached the surface safely. WIthin an hour four others were recovered, of whom three were dead and one fatally injured. This left nine men unaccounted for and there is no hope of any of them being saved. The total casualty list, therefore, is 22, and hope is entertained for the injured man, who was brought out and is now lying in a local hospital.
Following the explosion smoke at once poured out of the upcast shaft leaving doubt as to what had really occurred. As to what caused the explosion, nothing can be said definitely at present. All indications point to an ignition of a body of inflammable gas. The explosion developed great force. Members of rescuing parties said that the bottom of the intake shaft is piled up with cars and the body of the cage man has not yet been recovered. There are evidences of a greater forces farther in and signs of flames and intense heat, with here and there the usual cave-ins. It is thought that the origin of the explosion will be found in the west level. All the missing men are in this section. Further examination of the mine as soon as ventilation is restored will throw more light on this point.
The first casualty list issued was as follows:
The rescued men were:
R. WILSON.
J. S. JONES.
A. GOLD.
J. VULLOSIO.
T. PATTERSON.
W. THOMPSON.
T. J. NEEL.
A. COOK.
H. CLARKE.
J. GRAHAM.
A. J. MASA.
J. DAVIS.
The injured:
J. FLORETTS.
The dead are:
WILLIAM BALL, miner.
EPHRAIM WALISHFIL, miner.
ALFRED WILLIAMS, miner.
HIRAM GUFFOGG, miner.
FREDERICK CREW, miner.
JOHN LEACH, miner.
JAMES McEWAN, miner.
WILLIAM McEWAN, miner.
NICK SELEK, miner.
FRED LESCHEK, miner.
THOMAS HARKER, miner.
THOMAS BEWLEY, miner.
ROBERT KIRKBRIDE, driver.
EDMUND BECK, driver.
ROBERT McMILLAN, pumpman.
ROBERT HADDOW, cager.
JAMES L. MASS, rope-rider.
J. W. DAVIS, bratticeman.
PAUL VITTER, timberman.
THOMAS SUTTER, timberman.
ROBERT BROOM, overman.
LEWIS SHAW, pusher.

Manitoba Free Press Winnipeg 1915-05-28

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HIRAM GUFFOGG (1877-1915)

Hiram Guffogg: Was born in Bolton, Lancashire, UK in 1877. One of 9 surviving children of Francis & Mary Ellen Guffogg (nee Hall).Francis(20.Feb.1857-25.Mar.1899) a collier, was killed in a mine roof collapse, he also had a brother, Hiram Guffogg (1855 -
2.Sep 1903)a collier,who also was killed in a mine roof collapse. Hiram, now also a collier, was married 30.Dec 1899 to Jane Greenhalgh,a cotton mill worker. A son was born 15 Apr 1900 but died only months old. The marriage didn't last and on 4 Aug 1905, Hiram appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court where, he was ordered to pay his wife 8 shillings per week. On 4 Oct 1906 he sailed aboard 'The Ionian' from Liverpool, destination Michel B.C. Canada. His ticket No: 54100. to Quebec/Montreal, arriving 13 Oct 1906. Canada emigration was widely and much publicised in the local papers at this period. His wife died 12 Sept 1907. In May 1910 US Census: Hiram (now widowed) is a 'roomer' in Sheridan City WY working as a railroad machinist. He states his mother is Irish, incorrect, his mother was English, his grandmother was Irish . He eventually made his way to British Columbia were he resumed his old occupation and was at the Reserve Mine on 27 May 1915.