Mount Harris, CO Coal Mine Explosion, Jan 1942
MINE BLAST SNUFFS OUT LIVES OF 34.
COLORADO VILLAGE IS HARD HIT BY DISASTER.
Mount Harris, Colo., (AP) -- Thirty-four miners perished in an explosion in the Victor American Fuel Company coal mine late last night. Only four men escaped alive.
Black damp, deadly carbon dioxide gas, filled the shaft after the blast and impeded the work of rescue crews, unable to reach the victims for nearly six hours.
BILL FICKLE, one of the men rescued, said the four heard a "dull thud from way back in the hole. In a second we smelled smoke and ran for the air shaft."
Thirty volunteer workers set up an improvised morgue at Liberty Hall, the old opera house at Mount Harris, to receive the bodies after they are brought to the snow-covered surface.
Nearly every family in this small mining community 200 miles northwest of Denver had relatives employed in the mine.
Mine Superintendent Henry Johnson said the 34 men were trapped about 5,500 feet inside the tunnel of the mine, which slopes at an angle of about 10 degrees into Mount Harris.
The four who escaped were working nearer the entrance. They heard the blast and fled.
Rescue crews fought the suffocating gas with huge blowers, forcing air into the mine and sucking the fumes out.
The miners' families rushed to the pit from their homes in the surrounding towns of Craig, Hayden and Steamboat Springs, but were advised to return to their homes.
Ambulances and hearses were called from all surrounding towns, and State Mine Inspector Thomas Allen left for the scene from Denver immediately.
The four who were rescued alive were JOE GALL, BILL FICKLE, ELMER EVERSON and MIKE ATANSOFF.
Pulaski Southwest Times Virginia 1942-01-27
Courtesy of http://yampavalley.info/centers/history
Victims of the Wadge Mine Explosion at Mt. Harris.
ANTONIO ADAME, 42, Mt. Harris.
PLUTACO ADAME, 45, Mt. Harris.
CHARLES BAKER, 37, Craig.
LEO BECK, 43, Steamboat Springs.
H. TRUMAN BEEN, 37, Mt. Harris.
FRED W. BLOUNT, 50, Mt. Harris.
MAX BUSTOS, 65, Mr. Harris.
RALPH CABLE, 30, Hayden.
ROSS CABLE, 35, Hayden.
RAYMOND CABLE, 38, Hayden.
S. PETE CRETONNE, 51, Mt. Harris.
DON FORD, 25, Craig.
JACK GASPERICH, 42, Craig.
PHILLIP GONZALEZ, 50, Mt. Harris.
JOE A. GOODRICH, 40, Craig.
HARVEY HARDIN, 46, Mt. Harris.
H. H. HARTMAN, 47, Mt. Harris.
ELMER HINDMAN, 40 Hayden.
E. KEN HOCKMAN, 32, Mt. Harris.
JOE MARTINEK, 55, Mt. Harris.
TOM McKNIGHT, 54, Mt. Harris.
HARRISON G. MOORE, 29, Mt. Harris.
ROBERT NANCE, 46, Mt. Harris.
HARRY OLIVER, 55, Mt. Harris.
RAYMOND POPE, 21, Craig.
GEORGE SEARLES, 40, Mt. Harris.
JOE SERTIC, 50, Mt. Harris.
FRANK SHEPERD, 33, Craig.
TONY SKUFCA, 39, Mt. Harris.
TIMOTHY TRUJILLO, 26, Mt. Harris.
ARTHUR VAN CLEAVE, 34, Steamboat Springs.
ADRIAN VRIEZEMA, 21, Mt. Harris.
CHARLES VUKOMAN, 49, Mt. Harris.
GEORGE H. WARD, 44, Steamboat Springs.