Scofield, UT Mine Disaster, May 1900 - The Inspector's Report

In Inspector Thomas' report reference is made to the state­ments of Assistant Mine Superintendent Williams, under date of May 25, as follows:
"The cause and origin of the explosion are not yet definitely known. Investigation is still pending. The fact that the mine foreman and most of the men who were in Number Four mine at the time of the explosion were killed, makes it difficult to get ex­act evidence. No explosion gas is known to have been seen in any of the Winter Quarter mines, either before or since the ex­plosion. The methods of mining at the time of the explosion were the same as have been in practice for the past twenty years In Winter Quarters Numbers One, Two, Three, and Four mines, which are all on the same vein of coal.

"Investigation thus tar leads to the supposition that the ex­plosion probably originated from an accidental discharge of black powder, and was augmented by coal dust. The explosion seems to have spread from the upper part of Number Four mine entirely through that mine and through into the rise entries of Number One mine, the after-damp extending some distance beyond the force of the explosion. Many of the deaths in Number One re­sulted from this after-damp. From the lower levels in Number One mine about one hundred three workmen escaped uninjured."

Supplemental to the state inspector's report is a lengthy type­written recital of the examination of the damaged coal mine by Inspector Thomas, Mine Superintendent Thomas J. Parmley, Assistant Superintendent Williams, and Robert Forrester and George W. Snow, expert mining engineers. The supplemental report made of the mine details the condition in which ever y part of the mine was found after the explosion. Every room and open­ing was explored and the effects of explosion and fire noted.

At several designated places it was found that the flame pro­duced by the burning coal dust, ignited by the explosion of powder in the first instance, had exploded kegs of powder in rooms long distances from the originating point. In such places and along the path of fatal flame and heat, accompanied by terrific force, had coked the coal, charred the timber props or stewed the latent sap to the surfaces and had caused a mighty overturning and wrecking of things movable and the caving of unsupported ground.

In the rises, crosscuts and levels off the main and back entries the examiners found, invariably, undisputed evidences of explo­sive forces having been at work, with occasional demonstrations of flame and excessive heat, but as a rule the kegs of powder stored in the rooms not connected directly with the main entry were not exploded, although they had been touched by the heat and flame.

All along it was believed that fifty-six sticks of giant powder had also exploded, but Inspector Thomas yesterday received a tel­egram from Scofield saying the dynamite sticks had been found, thus upsetting the theory that the giant had contributed to the awful force of the explosion.

Officers of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company.
WM. G. SHARP, General Manager.
H. G. WILLIAMS. Assistant Manager.
T. J. PARMLEY, Superintendent of Winter Quarters.
ANDREW HOOD, Foreman in Number One.
ANDREW J. GILBERT, Night Foreman in Number One.
WILLIAM PARMLEY, (deceased) Foreman in Number Four.
O. M. BEATIE, Superintendent of Wasatch Store.

History of the Scofield mine disaster : a concise account of the incidents and scenes that took place at Scofield, Utah, May 1, 1900, when Mine Number Four exploded, killing 200 men, 1900.