Aguilar, CO Coal Mine Gas Explosion, Mar 1919

GAS EXPLOSION IN MINE TAKES A HEAVY TOLL.

MINE NEAR AGUILAR, COL., SCENE OF DISASTER; RESCUERS RECOVER ELEVEN; BURNED BEYOND RECOGNITION.

BELIEVE ALL ENTOMBED MEN HAVE PERISHED.

GRIEF-STRICKEN WOMEN WAIT IN HEAVY RAIN FOR NEWS OF LOVED ONES.

Trinidad, Colo., March 31. -- Eleven bodies, burned in some cases until identification was difficult, had been recovered late tonight from the Empire mine of the Empire coal company, near Aguilar, where a gas explosion occurred early today. Death apparently was instantaneous, the recovered bodies, with one exception being found huddled together under piles of debris. Two other bodies have not been recovered.
Grief stricken mothers, wives and sisters who had walked anxiously at the mine entrance in a heavy rain, aided in identification of the dead as they were brought to the surface.
The cause of the explosion has not been determined.
The body of JOHN LUDQUIST was recovered this afternoon. Of thirty-six men who were in the mine when the explosion occurred, twenty-three made their way out in safety.
Partial list of the killed:
JOHN LUNDQUIST, 39, single.
GUS BAHANIS, 46, married, 3 children.
HENRY CATON, 38, married, 2 children.
ABEL DUSAND, 43, married, 6 children.
F. DUSSART, 44, married, 7 children.
JACOB FATUR, single.
MIKE KONDIS, 27, single.
M. R. ROSSI, 39, married, 4 children.
The explosion, as indicated by conditions encountered by the rescue gangs, was confined to a small area about 2,500 feet from the mouth of the mine. Wreckage at this depth barred the way of the helmet men but air conditions are good and the ventilating fan is working. It is feared, however, that the men caught in this part of the mine were killed instantly by the explosion or died soon after from the afterdamp which usually developes from an explosion of gas.
The Empire mine, is one of several coal mining properties in the Aguilar district and has been in operation for ten years.
Twenty-five years ago today a similar explosion occurred in the Empire mine, killing two men and injuring two others.

Ogden Examiner Utah 1919-04-01