Calumet, MI Mine Fire, Sept 1895

MINERS IN A FIERY TOMB

THIRTY BURNED OR SUFFOCATED.

The Mine Officials Say That There is Not the Slightest Chance That Any of Those Below Will be Saved---The Cause of the Fire a Mystery.

CALUMET, Mich., Sept 9.---At about 8 o;clock Saturday afternoon fire broke out in the shaft of the Osceola mine, and it is more than probable that thirty men and boys have been burned to death or suffocated.

The names of the men known to be in the mine are as follows:---- Trembath, mine boss, Richard Bickel, Michael Johnson, Richard Grenfel, Richard Sufellt, John Ma[ineligible], Jacob Bryant, Francis Lander, Alexander Danfell, John Cudlip, Thomas Curtis, Robert Johns, Peter Martin, Joseph Saghte, James Harrigan, William Donald, Barney Elgore and Antone Scezweak. All are miners. In addition are Peter Stangard and Walter Dohle, drill boys.

The fire started in shaft No. 3, which is used to carry the miners to the surface from the mine. When the fire broke out all of the men and boys employed in the mine, about 300 in number, made a rush for the shaft in the hope of being taken to the surface. The fire was too rapid for them, however, and the chance of escaping by the shaft was entirely cut off by the flames and smoke. The majority of the miners made a break for a cross out, and in that way managed to reach another shaft from which they were taken to the top. Thirty were missing when the roll was called.

Within a short time after they had reached the surface smoke began pouring from all the shafts, and the escape of the men below was entirely cut off. The men in charge say that there is not the slightest chance for any of the men now in the mine to escape with their lives. If they are not burned they must have been choked with the dense smoke within a short time after the fire started.

Fortunately the mine is not as heavily timbered as some of the mines in this locality, and it will not take it a great while to burn out. As the thing now stands there is not the slightest thing that can be done for the men and no effort is being made to extinguish the flames. Nothing is known of how the fire started.

Captain P. Richards, with a gang of seven men, went down No.5 shaft last evening and went about 700 feet toward No. 4 shaft, when they had to turn [ineligible] flee for their lives on account of the smoke and gas. Some of these men were very nearly overcome, only reaching the surface in time to save their lives. It is learned that the place where the fire caught was the worst place in the whole mine, and the only place in the mine where fire of any extent could have caught.

Several of the men who escaped claim to have passed others on the ladders that were unable to proceed further on account of being overcome with smoke and gas. At the time the alarm was sounded over 200 were underground, and all could have escaped had they used proper precaution. Several miners in their flight passed a group of seven or eight who had stopped to rest and were smoking their pipes. They seemed to be in no hurry to the surface they remarked that they had plenty of time, but not one of them reached the surface.

An attempt will be made to reach the men today. There is no danger of the bodies being burned, and it is generally thought that the men escaped to some of the drifts leading to other shafts and were overcome by gas and smoke before they could reach a place of safety. This being the case, the bodies will be recovered as soon as the fire is gotten under control and the gases leave the mine.

The News, Frederick, MD 9 Sept 1895