Kemmerer, WY Mine Magazine Explosion, July 1920



Kemmerer, Wyo., July 28. -- Kemmerer will be a city of mourning tomorrow, when the funerals of eight victims of the mine magazine explosion are held. The latest tragedy of the local coal mines collected 100 per cent toll, as every man who was at the powder magazine at the Sublet mine when the mysterious explosion occurred, now lies at one of Kemmerer's two mortuaries, a burned and blackened corpse, hardly recognizable as a human being.
One man was killed instantly, three died before 10 o'clock last night, after being brought to the hospital in this city, and the remaining four passed away during the early hours of this morning.
The miners' union, which will have charge of the funerals, plans to assemble the eight caskets in the pavilion, the town's largest auditorium, and to have part of the last sad rites in the nature of a joint ceremonial.
All of the victims of the explosion will be buried here or at near-by camps.
The dead are as follows:
FRED KAMFINGLE, a German-Japanese, well known in Salt Lake and Idaho. He has served as court interpreter in criminal trials here and spoke German and Japanese fluently. He leaves a wife and three young children.
MATT WISNIEWSKI, 22, unmarried, lived at Sublet with his parents. He was in charge of the magazine and issued powder supplies to the miners.
B. M. SHIMM, 31, a Korean, little known here. He had friends in Superior, where he formerly worked.
T. TIMAGA, 33, a Japanese, single, a newcomer and not known here.
STEVE WEBER, a Pole, about 55 years of age, who was a shoemaker who worked part of the time in the mines. It is supposed that he was single.
JOHN PEROGLIO, an Italian, single, of whom little is known locally.
ROBERT NEMING, 45, and single.
ALFRED NOKKIL, a Finlander, 45 years of age.
It is definitely known that the men were at the magazine to get their supply of black powder, of which they are allowed only eight pounds for each shift.
WISNIEWSKI, the powder man, who was instantly killed, was at the door issuing the explosive and the men were in line facing him, as is shown by the fact that all were burned the worst in the face. Some of the men were on their way to join the night shift at the mine and others were on the way home and stopped for the powder for the next shift, which it is customary to take home overnight.
The theory is advanced by miners familiar with the procedure at the Sublet magazine that a metal keg of powder was opened with an iron instrument and that in passing through the metal a spark was generated which caused the explosion.

Ogden Standard Examiner Utah 1920-07-28