Scofield, UT Mine Disaster, May 1900 - The Inspector's Report
HOW THE MINERS DIED.
"Along the line where the powder exploded, all the bodies were badly burned, more so than in any other part of the mine. From this place the blast shot down along the main and main back entries, and through all the rooms and entries of Number Four mine, gathering all the combustibles, such as dust, powder, etc., within reach. Part of the blast shot out to the surface, through Number Four mine tunnel and air shaft, and part went through Number One mine. The part of the blast that went into Number One mine soon Lost its force, the heat only reaching as far down as room No. 11, fourth rise, and room No. 7 of the sixth rise, but did not reach the eighth rise.
"There were sixty men smothered by after•damp. These men were found between the seventh and eighth rises. They were not burned and only a short distance from fresh air.
MANY COULD HAVE SAVED THEMSELVES.
"All the men working below the fourth level of the eighth rise entries escaped and scarcely felt the shock. Only two men, working above this point came out alive. They were David Uro and one other, and were rescued three and one-half hours after the explosion occurred. Fro, was working in room No. 11 of the eighth rise. He remained in his room, not knowing an explosion had occurred, and there being sufficient air in his place, his life was saved. All the other men on this level hearing the explosion ran, trying to make their escape, and encountered the after-damp, to which they succumbed.. I am of the opinion that had they remained in their working places, or if they had gone down the eighth rise entry, many of them would have been saved.
"The mine Foreman having been killed and all those who were acquainted with the location of the places where the men in Number Four mine were working, having been killed. made it difficult to rescue the men. as many places had caved and buried them up, and also made it difficult to gain information as to the cause of the explosion.
NO EXPLOSIVE GAS IN MINE.
"At no time has there been known to exist in any of the Winter Quarters mines, any explosive gases, before or since the explosion, were the same as have been in existence for the past twenty years in the Winter Quarters mines Numbers One, Two, Three, and Four. These mines are all on the same vein of coal.
"In the year 1899, four thousand four hundred kegs of black powder were used in mining coal in the Winter Quarters mines. It has always been a practice for each miner to take his powder into the mine by the keg. Not alone in these mines has this been the practice, but in nearly all of the mines of the different states, and this has been done regardless of dust or other surrounding dangers.
"It is my opinion that the dust in the Winter Quarters mine is not of a very explosive nature, as we find that there have been hundreds of windy or blownout shots in the mines, with no serious results heretofore. In one case John D. Jones accidentaly [sic] exploded three quarters of a keg of black powder, and the dust did not ignite. This was in mine number three, which mine developed as much dust as the one that exploded. It is connected with Number four, being a continuation of the same seam of coal.
"For the safety of the miners in the future I have recommended that not more than six and a quarter pounds of powder be allowed to be taken into the mine by any one miner.
"I have also suggested to the company that they put a watering system in all the Winter Quarters mines, so that every place can be sprinkled. This the company has done, and Number One mine has started to work under the new rules which I have recommended. This will make the work safer, as the sprinkling lays the dust, and there will be a great deal less quantity of powder in the mine.
"I have submitted samples of coal and dust taken from these mines for analysis, but have not received the returns. I will, however, submit the returns later."