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Alaska-Mexican Mine

Alaska-Mexican Mine Treadwell, Alaska March 2, 1910 - 37 Killed (5) At 11:30 p.m. the powder magazine on the 1,100-foot level of the Mexican mine exploded, killing 37 men and injuring 9. The magazine, containing a day's supply of 20 to 30 boxes, was a chamber cut in the rock and closed in front by boards; it was 25 to 50 feet from the shaft and separated from it by a pillar. Light was furnished by a 16-candlepower lamp a short distance inside the door. There was no wiring over the stored powder. The explosives had been thawed before delivery, therefore, no heat for thawing was introduced into the mine. The explosion occurred just as the night shift work-men were waiting to go to the surface to eat. The men on the 990-foot station reported two explosions. The first extinguished their candles, but was of no great violence. As the men relit their candles before proceeding to another shaft, a second explosion of greater violence knocked them over, seriously injuring one and slightly injuring three. Men loading the skips only 45 feet below the 1, 100-foot level, were uninjured, as were those on the 1,200-foot and 1,300-foot stations. The posts on the 1,100-foot station were knocked out and, with the lagging and other timbers, formed a mass of debris that closed the shaft. From the debris, 22 bodies were recovered; 5 injured also were rescued. The doors across the skip compartments were closed, as ore was being hoisted from the level; one body was found on these doors. The man-cage compartment was open, and eight bodies were recovered from below in this compartment. The light board shed used for a stable was entirely demolished; two bodies were found there; one of the two horses was killed, and the other was injured. This stable was about 100 feet from the shaft, down the main drift. Two bodies were found along the drift, and the fragments of at least one body were found in the magazine itself. As is usually the case with an explosives accident, the cause could not be determined. As is always frequently the case, no great damage was done to the mine. A rescue party reached the scene within 35 minutes after the explosion, and the cage was in operation in about 11 hours. The position of the magazine near the shaft, but beyond it, considered in reference to the main drift precluded the possibility of any man being cut off from escape in case of accident, and also aided in the rapid dissipation of the gas; no one was asphyxiated.

Source: In 1998 (Reprinted 2001), the Mine Safety and Health Administration published a three volume index, Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States: Volume III - Metal and Nonmetal Mines - 1885 - 1998, 71 pages, page 12


Submitted by: Jerry Sherard  (6 March 2015)




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