Hanna, WY Gas Explosion In Mine, Mar 1908

20 DEAD IN MINE DISASTER.

GAS EXPLOSION ENTOMBS MINERS AT HANNA, WYOMING.

Special to The New York Times.
Hanna, Wyo., March 28. -- This camp was visited by another disaster this afternoon, when twenty men were killed by an explosion of gas in Mine No. 1 of the Union Pacific Coal Company.
A fire had been raging below the tenth level since last Saturday, and the force of 200 miners had been laid off for the day, fearing trouble might occur. Supt. ALEXANDER BRIGGS and nineteen volunteers, all experienced miners, went down into the workings early this morning to fight the conflagration.
Shortly after 3 o'clock the town was startled by an awful roar followed by a heavy boom, the shaking of the earth and the trembling of buildings. All knew what had happened, and there was a rush to the mine. Both entries had caved in, and mine timbers had been thrown great distances about the outside workings.
Relief parties immediately went to work, though knowing that the miners had been killed.
The known dead are Supt. ALEXANDER BRIGGS; Mine Foreman JOSEPH BURTON; JAMES KNOX; and ALF DODDS; GUS REAMEY and P. A. BOYD, colored; JOHN EVANS; ROBERT HERRON; HARRY LYONS; JOHN RIMMER; WILLIAM PASCOE; ROBERT WARBURTON; BENJAMIN PERRY; THOMAS FLINT, all Americans; GAPPA LAHTI; EMILE SELFVAST, and JOHN YAKNEN, Finlanders, and three unknowns.
Some of the bodies has been recovered.
On June 30, 1903, an explosion of gas killed 169 miners in this same mine.

The New York Times New York 1908-03-29

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HOPE OF RESCUE IS SWEPT AWAY.

ONLY FIVE BODIES RECOVERED AFTER FRIGHTFUL EXPLOSION IN HANNA MINE.

SEVENTY THE DEATH LIST ACCORDING TO ESTIMATE.

Hanna, Wyo., March 29. -- The bodies of only five of the 70 miners killed in the two explosions in mine No. 1 of the Union Pacific Coal company yesterday and last night have been recovered. They are ROBERT WARBURTON, PETER MUNSON and BENJAMIN PERRY, killed in the first explosion, and MATT HUHTALA and ALEXANDER TENNANT of the rescuing party. HUHTALA and TENNANT were found on the prairie 500 feet from the mouth of the east shaft. TENNANT'S head had been blown from the body and is supposed to be in the mine. One leg was blown off. HUHTALA'S body was also badly disfigured. All hope of rescuing any of the 60 odd men entombed has been abandoned, for the condition of the bodies of those recovered indicate that their companions were killed outright.
Delay Is Imperative.
The west slope was closed today and efforts are being made to smother the fires below the tenth level. In two or three days an effort will be made to reach the dead bodies. Seventy coffins have been ordered, indicating that this is the number of known dead, although the names of only 50 have been obtained. The remaining 15 are Finnish miners.
The second explosion was due to carelessness on the part of the 50 odd men who rushed into the workings without organization and a leader. Inspector ELIAS, the only one in authority, being deep in the workings with a small force of experts at that time. Those who escaped from the mine before the second explosion say that the accident was caused by the hasty action in closing some of the entries and forcing the large quantity of gas into the fire area.
Known Dead And Missing.
Denver, March 29. -- A Republican special from Hanna says that a carefully prepared list of the missing as a result of the two explosions yesterday in mine No. 3 contains 58 names and of this number 5 dead bodies have been recovered. Before further attempt at rescuing the dead can be made, the fire in the tenth level which was the direct cause
of the explosions, must be extinguished. Work to this end consumed the entire day, efforts being directed to closing the west slope, which, it is hoped, will eventually smother the raging flames. The known dead are:
ROBERT WARBURTON.
PETER MUNSON.
ALEXANDER TENNANT.
MATT HUHTALA.
BENJAMIN PERRY.
The missing are: DAVIS ELIAS, state mine inspector; ALEXANDER BRIGGS, mine superintendent; JOSEPH BURION; ALFRED DODDS; JAMES KNOX; GUS RAINIE; P. A. BOYD; GAPPA LAHTI; JOHN YKANON; EMILO SELFRUST; THOMAS FLINT; JOHN EVANS; ROBERT HERRON; HARRY LYONS; JACOB RIMMER; WILLIAM PASCOE; RICHARD WILSON; FRANK COLLINS; PETER TRAVIS; A. DODDS; CHARLES HUGHES; ALFRED HOLLIDAY; SAMUEL McCORMICK; L. CORTY; JOHN NOROKIL; WILLIAM JOHNSON; ALBERT RILEY; BURT FINK; GRANT ROUTI; E. FRANTI; ISAAC WILMERO; ANDREW BIRCHALL; H. H. BIRCHALL; JAMES M. HOY; ANDREW HOY; HARRY FOSTER; JOHN TATE; JAMES SMEATON; WILLIAM BURNS; A. MADDEN; CHARLES HARRIS; JOHN ARTHURS; ISAAC PENN; EMILO HENRICKSON; JOHN COOKSON; WILLIAM JOKI; JOHN TULL; CHRIS FERGUSON; ROBERT ARMSTRONG; SAMUEL CUNDY; VICTOR CUNDY; THOMAS CUNDY; and SAMUEL JACOBS.
One Escaped.
It was while Superintendent BRIGGS and 17 companions were fighting the fire at the tenth level that the first explosion occurred. But one man is known to have escaped death who was with this party. This was CHARLES HARRIS, colored. After going to his home to notify his family of his escape. HARRIS returned into the mine with the rescuing party organized by State Mine Inspector ELIAS to recover the bodies of the unfortunate who met death from the first explosion. HARRIS' name appears in the list of missing resulting from the second explosion.
According to the story of ALFRED CAMPBELL, who reached the entrance wo the mine with the bodies of WARBURTON, MUNSON and PERRY, killed in the first explosion and thereby escaped death himself, Inspector ELIAS scattered the members of the rescue party through the entrance for a distance of 1,500 feet removing wreckage and making temporary repairs of damage caused by the first explosion. The fire at the tenth level was raging furiously and Inspector ELIAS and several others with him discussed the wisdom of bratticing No. 8 entrance. It was decided that this would be suicidal, as the gas would be forced back onto the fire at the tenth level and would probably cause an explosion more terrific and direful than the one which had already snuffed out the lives of nearly a score of their comrades. The party continued to work their way slowly toward the fire, abandoning the idea of closing No. 8 entrance.
Probably More Dead.
It is thought, however, that some of the stragglers in the rear, struck with the same idea of cutting off the spread of gas by closing this entrance, immediately put the plan into effect, with the result as reasoned out by Inspector ELIAS and his immediate followers. Be it as it may, the second explosion occurred, and although it is known practically that 58 persons met death in the two explosions, preparations are being made to care for more than this number of dead bodies, should it become necessary. Already 70 coffins have been delivered here and it may become necessary to use all of them.

Anaconda Standard Montana 1908-03-30