On the afternoon shift of December 9, 1910, 42 men descended
into the mine to perform their duties. At about 8:00 p.m. a
tremendous blast from the inner workings swept the main haulage.
The blast forced the air out of the tunnels and it was replaced
by the often fatal "after damp."
Heroic work was performed by relief crews who came
from Fernie through, to, and including Passburg. Pit bosses,
fire bosses, engineers and miners hastened to render any assistance
they could. Many men from the rescue crews were dragged from the mine
unconscious as they endeavored to penetrate to search for
the trapped miners.
Fred Alderson of Hosmer lost his life when he removed the
mask he was wearing and gave it to a miner who was suffering
from gas inhalation. Inspector Bob Strachan of Fernie was near
death, but his life was saved by the most heroic methods of
resuscitation. Dr. McKenzie of Bellevue took chances with his
life in attempting to save victims.
30 men lost their lives [according to mining historian John
Kinnear, it is likely that 31 men were killed] but had the explosion happened
on the day shift more men would have died since the normal
worker compliment was 200. The victims were
Fred Alderson, A. Aulterk, G. Basso, F.
Biegnan, J. Bonato, J. Drewinski, S. D'Ercole, M. Geiga, Mike
Korman, C. Telite, John Robo, F.Roberts, M. Saave, B. Tripoli,
V. Tripoli, F. Ullvinin, M. Quintilio, M. Weburg, M. lori, M.
Trip, Sam Lamata, J. Bernato, J. Doskara, F. Martini, M.
Condratichen, Mike Nicosumac, Nils Maki, A. Puymo.
The bodies of seven men were interred in the Passburg
cemetery, 15 in the Union and six in the Catholic
cemeteries at Blairmore.