Newcastle, CO Vulcan Mine Explosion, Dec 1913


No Hope for Workmen in Vulcan Property Say Rescue Workers


Official Statement Issued After Return of Party from Workings.


Some Trying to Escape Are Met by Second Great Detonation

NEWCASTLE, Colo, Dec. 16.---Thirty-eight men practically all Americans, entombed, with practically no hope of finding any alive, was the statement of officials at 2 o'clock this afternoon as to the results of an explosion in the Vulcan mine at 10:20 this morning. The officials also expressed the view that the explosion was caused by dust. Several bodies were found by the rescue party headed by Superintendent Charles S. Meerdink.

Three brought to the surface are:

WALTER BAXTER ______STARBUCK ______FILSO, an Italian.

None Left Alive

Superintendent Meerdink, who came out of the workings early this afternoon, said that his party had penetrated to the fact, that many bodies had been found and conditions were such that he had no hope of recovering any alive.

Mine Foreman L. L. Crawford, Fire Boss L. Walters and at least 30 miners were entombed. This estimate was base on a hurried check or the company's rolls. Some officials expressed the belief that the number in the workings might be increase to 40. Only about eight of the men in the mine are foreigners.

Rescuers at Work

Charles S. Meerdink, mine superintendent, with five companions equipped with helmets, at once began an exploration of the workings. It was believed that the explosion originated in the west workings at a point at least 1,500 feet from the portal of the main tunnel, but whether it was caused by dust or gas could not be determined. According to mine officials six are known to have been working in the west entry and are believed to have been killed.

Hasty examination led to the belief that the east entry was comparatively free from the force of the explosion and this led to expressions of hope that some of the men employed there would be found alive.

The force of the explosions of hope that some of the men employed there would be found alive.

The force of the explosion was sufficient to wreck the fan but rescuers remembered that they had gone several hundred feet from the portal before encountering any serious obstruction in the main tunnel. Miners from the Colorado Fuel & Iron company's mine at Spring Gulch, 12 miles distant, equipped with helmets started at once for Newcastle to aid in the rescue work.

Second Explosion Occurs

All entombed miners were married, say mine officials. A number of men were in the upper workings, which are reached by a long incline from the tipple, at the time of the explosion. These hastened to the main tunnel and are said to have been met by a second explosion.

At 1:15 this afternoon two bodies had been recovered.

Newcastle was the scene of the first big mine disaster in Colorado, in 1889, when 75 men were killed in the Santa Fe mire.

Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, NV 16 Dec 1913


One of the pathetic incidents of rescue was when Harry Meese, a stripling, emerald from the manway carrying unaided the body of his dead father, William. Immediately upon learning of the explosion, young Meese donned an oxygen helmet, and was one of the first of he rescue men to enter the mine. It was his father [ineligible] and he left the rescue crew which he had accompanied and wandered about the workings, guided only by the flash of his electric torch, stumbling over body after body until finally he came upon that for which he searched. Almost exhausted by his long and arduous trip in the mine under his heavy oxygen equipment young Meese did not hesitate, but lifted the dead body of his father to his shoulders and carried him over a mile through a lane of death, home to his mother.

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