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Palisade Tribune History 100 Years Ago: Disaster In Mine No. 2 At Castle Gate, Utah

Palisade Tribune, March 14, 1924, p. 1

Last Saturday morning, after the day crew of Mine No. 2 of the Utah Fuel Co. had gone to work, there occurred one of the worst disasters in the history of mining, caused by a dust explosion, 175 miners losing their lives. One hundred and thirty-two bodies have been recovered, but they are in such a mangled condition that very few have been identified. In the loss of 175 there is hardly a home where the father or brother have not been taken, leaving the same number of widows and 500 fatherless children.

There were three explosions reported at the mine about 8:15 and 8:30 o’clock. It is believed that they were caused by an accumulation of dust in the bottom of the mine, but only theories as to the origin were available.

The force of the explosion blew out the bulkhead of the old entrance and scattered debris over the mountainside across the canyon for several hundred yards.

Ropes were stretched around the mine entrance and crowds of people, including sorrowing wives and mothers, lined the canon roads.

The three explosions filled the canon with a cloud of smoke and created a great deal of alarm among the people of the camp.

The first blast was felt at 8:15am and the second came a minute later. About 20 minutes later the third explosion occurred.

The force of the explosion destroyed the miner’s check station and hens the names of the men entombed were not available. Most of them, it was said, are native Utahans, living with their families in Castle Gate.

The rescue workers and mine officials have worked faithfully to recover all the bodies but have been handicapped on account of the debris.

No. 1 mine of the company here closed down last week. Most of the single men were dismissed at that time and the married men were given work in the mine which was wrecked Saturday. Most of the victims of the disaster are said to be married men with their families in Castle Gate, which has a population of about 1700.

The K.P. hall was turned into a morgue and the bodies were taken there.

The fans used for pumping air were wrecked by the force of the explosions, but one was repaired by the rescue crews and is now operating.

Mine No. 2 is one of the largest coal mines in the state, located about a mile and a half from the company’s offices there. The normal force of the mine is 175 men on the day shift, the men having entered the mine at 7:30 o’clock in the morning.

The mine entrance is on the level and the mine runs back about a mile and a half, the working shafts following the drift of the coal vein.

There was no way of determining where the first blast occurred because of the obstruction near the entrance.