Hailey, ID North Star Mine Snowslide, Feb 1917 second article

North Star Mine in Snowslide, Feb 1917 North Star Mine in Snowslide, Feb 1917


An appalling calamity occurred at the North Star mine on the East Fork of Wood river about 3:30 o'clock on the morning of February 25, 1917. Three slides formed an avalanche, one from the east, one from the north and one from the northwest, which killed 15 men and injured 17.

Following is a list of the dead :

Emmett P. Russell, Philip Welch, John Fleming, Samuel La Barge, John Vaughn, John Kistle, John McKelvy, all of Hailey; Israel Peterlin of Broadford, John Hearn of Fairfield, William C. Schmidt of Rock Creek, E. P. Manjino, timekeeper, of Mexico, Joseph H. Purnell of Boise,E. G. Cooley, W. R. Motley and Roy Judd.

Following is a list of the injured:

Andy Smith of Lost River, H. B. Richardson of Boise Basin, George Lee of Boise, John Lillquist of Rossland, Canada, M. S. Legault, O. E. Beeson, 0. D. St. Amand, Bert Judd, M. S. Lesault, John Peterson, Pete Colombtta, K. D. Lindsay, H. F. Manard, A. E. Wood, E. C. Jones, Thomas Jay and J. R. Carter.

Over 20 men escaped uninjured. Of the 85 men employed only 65 were at the mine and they are all accounted for.

The avalanche destroyed the office, storeroom, changing room, two-story bunkhouse and compressor room of the Federal Mining & Smelting company, smashing them into kindling wood.

The Bell telephone line being out of commission the Hailey Electric Light works was called over the Federal Company's private line and Superintendent Rising was urged to send all the physicians and able bodied men available to the scene of the tragedy.

Mr. Rising thereupon aroused Doctor Wright by telephone and he called doctors Kleinman and Plumer of Halley and Doctors Byrd and Dutton of Bellevue, all of whom responded immediately. After consultation doctor Plumer was left in Halley to look after the relatives of the victims of the tragedy, many of whom resided in Hailey, and the other physicians left for the North Star mine which they reached about 8 o'clock. They immediately turned the mill office into a temporary hospital.

A veterinary surgeon had begun to give first aid in the company's office at the mill and had bandaged some of the rescued when the Halley and Bellevue physicians arrived. In the meantime the mill hands and the mill employees who were unhurt had been rescuing those whom they could reach. By 9 o'clock about 100 men were engaged in rescue work. Some of the men were buried under 20 to 30 feet of snow. Several of the dead showed no marks of injuries and are supposed to have suffocated. Others showed cuts and bruises.

The company did all it could to locate the relatives of the dead or injured. The train was held at the siding near Gimlet for the purpose of taking the injured, accompanied by doctors, volunteer assistants and miners, to Hailey and Bellevue.

Of the injured two died a short time later, making 17 deaths all told.

This awful calamity has a parallel in Idaho, the number of deaths being the same as in the Coeur d'Alenes a few years prior when , an avalanche crashed through a part of the city of Wallace. It brought sorrow to many homes in Hailey where so many people were closely related by blood or marriage.

History of Alturas and Blaine Counties, Idaho Hailey, Idaho: Hailey Times, 1930, pages 95-96