Union, BC Powerful Mine Explosion, Feb 1901

IMPRISONED CANADIAN MINERS.

TERRIFIC EXPLOSION IN No. 6 SHAFT, UNION COLLIERY, B.C. -- SIXTY-FIVE WORKERS CUT OFF -- NO HOPE FOR THEIR SALVATION.

Vancouver, Feb. 15. -- Sixty-five miners are imprisoned in No. 6 shaft of the Cumberland coal mine on Vancouver Island. The only exit is the mouth of the shaft which is filled with a huge volume of flame. There is considered to be no possibility for the unfortunates to escape. Their doom is practically certain.
Details of the disaster are meager. The Cumberland mine is near the village of Union, about 60 miles north of the town of Nanaimo. The only telegraphic communication from Union is by a single government wire and little is known of the tragedy in the mine, except that a terrible explosion occurred in No. 6 shaft of the Cumberland, about 11 o'clock this morning. Following the explosion the shaft caught fire and the 65 miners who were working half a mile from the entrance were caught in a death-trap.
A relief party from No. 5 shaft made a brave but futile attempt at a rescue. They were headed off by the fire and could not reach the imprisoned men. The attempt at rescue was made through No. 5 shaft, but the flames and gas prevented any development of the perilous venture.
A special train left Victoria this afternoon carrying fire fighting apparatus in charge of R. W. Dunsmuir, a member of the company owning the mine; J. A. Lindsay, private secretary to the president of the mining company; Mine Inspector Morgan and Superintendent of Collieries Little. At Nanaimo this party embarked this evening, on the steamer Joan, which set off at once for Union Bay.
The Cumberland mine is one of the properties of the Union Colliery company, situated near Como, and reached from Union Bay by the private colliery railway crossing the Trent River, on which the memorable bridge disaster occurred a year or two ago. It has been singularly fortunate, heretofore, in immunity from disaster, and was counted an especially safe mine to work in by reason of the character of the formation in which coal is found there and the manner in which it had been opened up.
No. 6 shaft, the scene of the disaster, was bottomed in October, 1898, at a depth of 814 feet. It is well constructed and timbered with a mid-wall, the pit bottom being timbered with 12x18 sawn bulks built solidly together, 16 feet wide and 12 feet high. The shaft is located close to the railway and the ventilation of the mine is effected by a 14x5 foot gulbal fan, which when run to its full capacity, gives 85,000 cubic feet of air circulation per minute. The air enters by the haulage slopes and is divided into separate splits, the main split being at the point where No. 2 branches off the main slope, part of the air going down each slope. Further down each of these slopes the air is again split, and sent to the workings east and west of the respective slopes.

Victoria, Feb. 15. -- Special to the Associated Press from Union Bay, B. C., where the mines of the Union Colliery Co. are located, says: "The town was shaken by a terrific explosion at 10:40 this morning. The source was located at No. 6 shaft right in town. Crowds soon gathered at the pit head and willing workers did anything and everything that possibly could be of use. Sixty-five men, about 40 of whom are whites, are known to be in the mine at the time, and the force of the explosion covered the ground about the pithead with a layer of crushed and broken mine timber several inches thick. The worst is feared by men of experience."

Listing of Casualties:
W. B. WALKER, Overman, married, leaves wife and 2 daughters.
GEORGE TURNBULL, Timberman, leaves wife.
ROBERT STEELE, Cager.
WILLIAM WALKER, Driver, son of W. B. WALKER.
GEORGE WALKER, Driver, son of W. B. WALKER.
JOSEPH ALLISON, Driver, single.
The following are miners and miners helpers:
ROBERT FLACK, married.
D. M. DAVIS, single.
JOSEPH CROSETTI, single.
CHARLES BONS, single.
DUNCAN MUNRO, married, leaves wife and large family.
LOUIS SIMONDI, married.
JONAS WHYTE, married, leaves wife and 4 children.
PETER BARDISONA, married, leaves wife and 2 children.
ANDREW SMITH, single.
THOMAS LORD, single.
WILLIAM SNEDDON, married, leaves wife and large family.
DAN McINNIS, single.
JAMES HALLIDAY, single.
A. MAFADDO, single.
I. KINCHITE.
T. KUKUTAM.
G. MONKAWA.
S. KURASHIMA.
SANPEI OKU.
K. IKEGAMI.
E. MUIRA.
CHIZOZA ABO.
K. OKETANI.
MAH T. YONG.
MAH B. WING.
MAH W. CHUNG.
MAH MON JUG.
DER CHOW.
WONG SING.
YEE MOO.
HOG YEE.
CHOW S. BING.
YEE Q. JUNG.
WONG C. PUN.
WONG HIP BOO.
HONG GAN.
LUNG CHUNG.
WOO SANG.
SUE LAM.
JANG ART.
FOOK CHUNG.
LAM DINA.
LAM CHONG.
TUA DAM.
CHAN B. YAN.
DANG FOY.
WOO HAE.
MAH QUONG TAI, tracklayer.
MAH HOY, tracklayer.
CHONG KEEP, tracklayer.
MAH KUNE, driver.
MAH CHOW, runner.
GEE TAN, runner.
WONG G. CHOW, timberman.
AH DAN, helper.
WONG Y. HONG, helper.
MAH SHY ONE, helper.

Manitoba Free Press Winnipeg Canada 1901-02-16