Primero, CO Mine Disaster, Jan 1910

PRIMERO COAL MINE DISASTER

HORRIBLE GAS EXPLOSION IN COLORADO FUEL & IRON COMPANY'S MINE.

MAY BE OVER 100 DEAD

RESCUE WORKERS FIND TWENTY-FOUR DEAD BODIES AND ONE MAN ALIVE

Primero, Colo., Feb. 1 (Tuesday). -- Over 100 men are believed killed by a terrific explosion in the Primero mine of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company at 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
At 10 o'clock last night fifteen bodies had been recovered from one of the main slopes.
The bodies were literally blown to pieces and were unrecognizable.
Rescue parties are making desperate efforts to reach the interior workings, cut off from the outside by the caving of the main portal.
Five men were killed at the mouth of the mine slope by the force of the explosion.
Both fans with which the mine is equipped were shattered and were not repaired until 7:30 last night.
As soon as the fans were repaired General Superintendent J. F. THOMPSON and a rescue party entered by the main air shaft but were unable to reach the main shaft, which was completely blocked.
The party returned to the surface after securing five bodies, which were badly burned.
A party equipped with oxygen helmets replaced them in the workings reached through the air shaft and at 3 a. m. had recovered twenty-four bodies and rescued one man alive.
When the explosion occurred flame, smoke and timbers burst from the entrance and killed five men standing outside the mouth of the mine.
The mouth of the main slope was completely closed by the force of the explosion.
At the entrance of the air shaft which runs parallel to the main slope, the work of rescue began.
At 3 o'clock this morning twenty-four blackened and charred corpses had been laid out in the warehouse 150 feet from the shaft, which had been transformed into a temporary morgue.
At 2:10 a cheer went up from the crowd gathered around the mouth of the air shaft when it was announced that a man had been brought out alive.
His name was DRONARADO VIRGEN. He was revived by oxygen treatment.
This gives rise to the hope that there may be other men alive in the mine.
At 3 o'clock the company officials stated that there were seventy-nine men still in the mine.
Owing to the blackened and charred condition of the bodies taken out, the only means of identification was brass number checks and a few articles carried in their pockets which were not destructible.
Nearly all clothing was burned from the bodies brought out and it will take careful checking up by the payroll to determine the names of the victims.
Most of the victims are Slavs and Hungarians, although Electrician WILL HELM is known to be among the missing.
At 1:30 a. m. JAMES THOMPSON of Trinidad, division superintendent of the C. F. & I., who was in actual command of the rescue work, was carried from the mine unconscious, but after being revived by oxygen treatment he donned another oxygen cap and entered the mine to lead the rescue work.
Miners were rushed to Primero from Trinidad, Segundo, Starkville, Sopris and Cokeville and are laboring frantically to clear the main shaft, relieving each other every few minutes.
It is impossible to determine how far the main shaft has caved and it may be days before the shaft is cleared and the total dead list known.
There is little hope that any of the men in the mine are alive.
The company clerk reports that seventy-nine safety lamps are missing and he is sure that that number of men are entombed.
Many of the miners state that 150 men are missing.

Littleton Independent Colorado 1910-02-04

DEATH TOLL IN PRIMERO DISASTER IS SEVENTY-EIGHT

Only One Man Escaped Alive in Explosion That Occurred in a Colorado Fuel & Iron Company Mine Late Yesterday.

GAS ACCUMULATION IN MAIN SHAFT.

Special to the Courier.
Primero, Cool..[sic] Feb. 1. -- That everyone of the 79 miners in that workings at the time of the explosion yesterday afternoon, with one exception, met death, is now believed to be certain. Up to 1 o'clock this afternoon forty-two bodies had been brought out, but only about 20 of the men had been identified. They were horribly bruised and mangled by the force of the explosion, which is believed to have been caused by an accumulation of gas in the main shaft.

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