Dawson, NM Mine Explosion, Feb 1923
February 8, 1923
MINERS BURIED ALIVE
RESCUE PARTIES RUSH WORK CLEARING DEBRIS.
FORMER MINE EXPLOSION AT DAWSON, N. M., CAUSED THE DEATH OF 263 MEN.
Dawson, N. M. - A terrific explosion that rocked the workings of coal mine No. 1 of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation here entombed 122 miners working inside.
The explosion occurred at 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon and tore away all of the heavy concrete work at the mouth of the mine entry. Within a short time after the blast rescue workers had cleared the debris from the mouth of the mine and a rescue crew, led by W. D. Brennan, general manager of the mine, entered. The imprisoned miners were about 5,000 feet from the portal of the mine.
The cause of the explosion is a mystery. A statement by the company declared the mine was well sprinkled and was not gaseous.
The explosion did not wreck the mine fan and ventilation soon was established.
The explosion was the second in Phelps-Dodge property here, a similar accident in mine No. 2 wiping out 263 lives in 1913.
While company workers who volunteered for rescue duty were continuing their efforts the United States bureau of miners started a rescue car here from Hanna, Wyo., and a second car sent by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company was sent from Trinidad.
Almost before the reverberation from the explosion ended, scored of women and children, members of the families of the miners, run to the mouth of the property. Weeping for their loved ones inside they pressed forward about the cordon of guards formed in front of the mouth of the mine. The guards kept them back so that the work of rescue parties would not be hampered.
The loss of life may be large, although the usual precautionary measures taking in the mining operations will undoubtedly result in saving those in the inner workings of the soft coal mine beyond the immediate field of the explosion.
The mine is one of the largest operated by the company at Dawson and was previously the scene of a subterranean tomb as the aftermath of the blast.
For more that a week recue [sic] crews braved the dangers of falling debris, fire, and gas, before the last bodies of the miners killed in the blast and fire were recovered.
Officials at the time were unable to account for the disastrous explosion in the Stag canon mine No. 2, but officials , following the accident, declared it was their beliefs that a miner, with an open lamp had encountered an unknown pocket filled with gas, which was exploded, wrecking the mine.
Dawson is one of the largest coal mining camps in the United States. Four mines are operated at that place, the total population of the comp numbering about 5,000.
Akron Weekly Pioneer Press, Akron, CO 16 Feb 1923