Scofield, UT Mine Disaster, May 1900 - More on the Disaster


Scofield, May 12.—It is generally believed here that in a short time, work will be resumed at the Winter Quarter's mines. Tie big contract for supplying the United States navy with 2,000 tons of coal per day, which began on May 1st, requires that there should be as little delay as possible, and according to all accounts, a hundred men could be put to work right now at Number One, while the work of repairing Number Four is going on.

When the accident occurred all of those who escaped, practic­ally declared they would never work in the mine again, but most of them have now changed their minds and are ready to resume operations.

"That is a peculiarity of coal miners the world over," said a Salt Lake man, now visiting here, who formerly worked in Wyo­ming. "I was in the big explosion at Almy, and every man who survived vowed he would never go into that mine again. I was one of the loudest, and yet, after the shock had worn off, I was about the first to accept work and return to the mine. They will always do that."

This explosion does not appear to have had any effect upon coal miners located elsewhere, either, because since the first day of the explosion, the company has been receiving applications from all over the country from miners who want work. It is safe to say at this time that whenever the Pleasant Valley Coal Company sees fit to resume operations, it will not experience the slightest trouble in obtaining all the labor required.


One of the most pitiful sights witnessed here since the explosion is the return of the widows and orphans, who have been to other parts of the State burying their dead. Every train from the junction brings in some of these. As they near the town and begin to recognize familiar objects, their suffering begins a new and when they reach their old homes, where in their honest, hardworking way, they have known so much happiness, they all break down. The days ahead for these stricken ones are truly dark ones.

The effect of the explosion," said a Castle Gate miner as he came out of Number One "was to burn up all the oxygen in the air, leaving only poison to breathe. That constitutes after-damp air full of carbondioxide. If a man gets the full force of it, he's gone. If the after-damp is mixed with better air, he may live long enough to get to a place of safety. Breathing after-damp is quite suffocating, and yet the stomach suffers more than the lungs. However, it's all over very soon and there is very little suffering connected with death from after-damp.

Little has been said about it, but during the week following the explosion the closing of the saloons contributed not a little to the perfect order maintained in Scofield. This action was taken at the suggestion of Superintendent W. G. Sharp, and the order was obeyed to the letter. There was no "back door" business, nor any attempt to evade, and as a result, not a single intoxicat­ed man was seen at the mines or on the streets.

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.