Coroner's Inquest

The following are excerpts from the original coroner's inquest which is 81 pages in total.
The State of Wyoming, County of Lincoln
E.W. Holmes, County Coroner

E.W. Holmes, Coroner of the County of Lincoln, State of Wyoming, opened Court at Kemmerer, in the said County, on the 17th day of August, A. D. 1923, at 9:00 o'clock A.M.  Said Coroner summoned Geo. W. Brown, Wm. McAllister and Joseph Bird Sr., to appear in the Court forthwith to act as jurors at this inquest, and all of the said jurors being present, they were duly sworn as required by law; and thereupon they inspected the bodies lying then and there before them, and proceeded with the inquest as follows:

MR. QUEALEY:  Mr. Coroner, I would like to make a brief statement at the beginning of this inquest are there any objections

CORONER:  No objections at all.

MR. QUEALEY:  Thank you.  Why, when the government representative came out to the mine I though that they would make very good witnesses, but I found that it is the policy of the Government not to permit their representatives or allow them to testify, unless(sic) would testify, because they would be the most impartial witnesses we could possibly get.  That was about all I wanted to say:  however, in talking with their principal representative he said he had no objection to talking to those who were interested regarding matters of his observation, and a great many of those witnesses, I think, discussed it with the representative of the Government.  That's all.
CORONER:  Mr. Quealy, do you mean to say, then that the Government man could be called in any way?
MR. QUEALY:  I mean the opposite.
CORONER:  They can not (sic) be called in any way?
MR. QUEALY:  He had objection to talking about it but it was not the policy of the Government to have them testify.
CORONER:  Does that mean state officers as well, Mr. Quealy?
MR.  QUEALY:  I don't think so.  I refer only to government men; to the Department of Mines.

State Mine Inspector, was then called to the witness stand, and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:

Q:  Mr. Patterson, you may go ahead and tell the jury what you know about the accident.

A:  I wish to inform the Coroner that I wasn't on the job very early.  It was the middle of the day when I got there and when I got there a good deal of the work had been done and the air was practically restored and I think you could get more information if you would call one of the men first who were there right from the start.  I don't know anything from the starting point until I got there.  It was late in the day when I got down in the mine.

Q:  My idea was that there might some question come up in regard to inspections previous to this.

A:  Well, I haven't got the date of my last inspection in the mine but everything was all right when I was there; I haven't got the date but I could get it for you in a few minutes.

Q.  I wish you would and we will examine some other witnesses in the meantime.
WHEREAS, said witness was excused.

Note:  the inquest states that Mr. Oakley was called to the stand, but the first question starts out "Mr. Quealy...".
was then called to the witness stand, and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:

Q:  Mr. Quealy, you may state to the jury what your experiences were in regard to this accident.

A:  Mr. Coroner, in what line do you want me to follow?

Q:  Just give a statement of the conditions existing from the day previous.

A:  Well, gentlemen, I will start right out with the gas watchmen, he came out of the mine in the morning, the 30 and 29 watchman, came that morning and reported everything was clear.  Tom Roberts, 25, 27 and 2(?) gas watchman reported fifty feet of gas in 45 room in the 27th entry.  I ordered Motto and Joe Wainwright to remove the gas in the 27th entry, Tom Roberts to go back on his job shot firing in 30 and Sager to look after the shots until one and Wainwright to look out for the shots in 28 after noon; then I checked the men in and found 102 miners and 34 company men.  They was preparing to go down in the mine and John Turk told me a little wind was coming out the manway so I went out and saw a little piece of paper that had whirled out of there and a few minutes afterward I saw smoke coming out of the fan.  Thinking from the disturbance that nothing had happened I detailed three men, Tom Hall, Nate Watkins and Tom Potter to go down the slope and examine the stoppings between the return air course and the intake air course.  Hall reported from fifteen that he found the pumper dead and the stopping blown.  In the meantime the office, or rather the Kemmerer Coal had been notified that they had an accident and when Hall reported that I ordered materialt (sic) replace the stoppings in the mine.  Pete Hurd and George Head and Will Chamberlain came on the scene and I told them to go down and try to pull the pin on the trip at seventee (sic), which was dow (sic).  We pulled the entry rope up and hooked onto some empty cars and took material down and proceeded to build stoppings.

Q:  You did not use all of the men on that job did you?

A:  No, sir; about twenty I guess.  Mr. Russel and Mr. Turner and myself that was leading the exploring party and the rebuilding of the stoppings.  At eleven twenty the ventilation in the mine was restored completely.  I left Mr. Russel at the bottom looking after twenty nine and thirty entries; George Morrison at twenty seven; in twenty seven with a party with him, of course, and John Martin at twenty eight, and proceeded up the slope to clear the debris off the slope.  I met Mr. Patterson, the State Mine Inspector, at twenty two and he took charge of one gang clearing up the debris there.  I met Mr. Slicker at twenty and told him to take charge of a party then and proceeded up to seventeen myself, and I proceeded to fifteen myself, and reported to Mr. Quealy that the ventilation in the mine was restored and the air back to seventeen, and got the trip on the truck.   About two o'clock the slope was cleaned so the trip could come down and in the mean time the bodies--, they found some bodies at twenty seven, I don't know how many; one between twenty eight and twenty nine and I didn't go to thirty personally so I don't know anything about that.  In the meantime the bodies had been cleared off the slope and placed on the side and we proceeded to examine the entries.  John Martin reported twenty eight all clear, and finding two Japs there whom he sent out.  Mr. Russel reported twenty nine clear, with twenty one men--finding twenty one men in there alive.  Morrison reported twenty seven clear to the face.  I went to the face of twenty nine, twenty seven and twenty eight myself, and into fifteen and thirty as far as we could penetrate at that time.  That's all I have to state on the first day, but the jury can ask me any questions.

MR. CORONER:  Are there any of the jurors who wish to ask the witness any questions?

Questions by Mr. Bird, juror:
Q:  What time did this accident occurs Mr. Oakley?

A:  About eight twenty.

Q:  About eight twenty.  Do you know what was the cause of it?

A:  The cause as determined by the investigating committee?

Q:  If you know the cause, state the cause.

A:  They came to the conclusion that it was caused by a fire boss lighting his safety light in a body of gas in number seven room, thirty entry.

Q:  How do you know as he was lighting his safety lamp?

A:  By finding a lamp open and a match laying on the side of it.

Q:  Where did you find it?

A:  About eight feet from the face of the room.

Q:  Was the safety lamp uncoupled?

A:  Yes, the bottom was unscrewed from the top.

Q:  And you supposed then that the gas watchman uncoupled his lamp?

A:  Well, it is natural to assume that because there was the lamp and it should have been in his box, and he was there himself.  About forty feet below there his body was found.

Q:  What was the name of the gas watchman?

A:  Tom Roberts.

Q:  Is it practiced for a gas watchman to uncouple his lamp in a body of gas?

A:  It is not practical, no.

Q:  Shouldn't he go to some place where there is a fresh current of air?

A:  He should; but he was not the fire boss on that section, and this fire boss reported that section clear of gas.

Q:  And that room on this certain morning, number seven room number thirty entry was reported clear?

A:  Yes.

Q:  And who was the gas watchman that had examined that room?

A:  John Sager.

Q:  And where was Sager at this time?

A:  At twenty eight entry.

Q:  Twenty eight entry?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Had Sager also examined twenty eight entry?

A:  No, twenty nine.

Q:  Twenty nine.  Was it his duty to be on twenty eight entry that morning?

A:  Yes, because I detailed him to examine shots there until noon.

Q:  Isn't it general that a mine is laid off in districts, so that one gas watchman will take one certain part and another one will take another part?

A:  It is.

Q:  Well, how did it come that Roberts was down on number thirty entry?

A:  Because he was the regular shot firer on that entry, and James Roberts was the regular fire boss on twenty five, twenty seven and twenty eight entries, and James Roberts went hunting chickens the day before and Tom Roberts made his round for him, and then went onto his own job inspecting shots, and that is the reason he was there.

Q:  When a gas inspector finds a body of gas does he report it?

A:  When he finds a body of gas he examines it and reports it on the book and in the morning reports possibly to me, and then he goes down and removes the gas unless instructed otherwise.

Q:  And this number thirty entry was reported all clear of gas; all of the working places?

A:  Yes, there is the reporting book there; Mr. Bird you have asked me that three times.

Q:  Well, answer it.  I haven't asked you that question until now.  Did I ask you that before?

A:  I don't know.  It was reported clear.

Q:  Let me see that report book, will you please?

(Witness produces the book and Mr. Bird reads from same, as follows:)
"Tuesday.  Between five and seven A.M. I examined all of the working places on twenty nine and thirty entries and I find them all clear of gas.  John Sager Jr."

Q:  How was twenty seven entry that morning Mr. Oakley?

A:  Fifty feet of gas reported in number forty five room.

Q:  Fifty feet of gas.  Was that gas cleared out after?

A:  I instructed Joe Wainwright, the safety inspector, and Motto, the shot inspector, to clear that gas, and they was evidently doing that.

Q:  They would probably be doing that at the same time when the explosion occurred?

A:  Possibly.  That was just a little while.

Q:  Then when you have cleared the gas out do you report it back in your book; gas cleared out at such a time?

A:  Yes.

Q:  By so and so?

A:  By ventilation or whatever it is cleared by.

MR. CORONER:  Have you any questions?

Questions by Mr. McAllister:
Q:  Yes, Mr. Oakley, isn't it always customary, when the fire boss comes out of a morning and makes the report, and signs it on the  book, isn't it always customary to go and sit down and get breakfast before going into the mine?

A:  No, at number one mine they eat breakfast with the men.  One fire boss lets one trip in and another lets one in.  One fire boss eats breakfast while the other is letting his men in and then they change and the other one eats while he lets his men  in and then they go down on the second man trip themselves, both of them.

Q:  In this case wasn't one man up in number seven room; one digger up in seven room beside this fire boss?

A  One miner, yes.

Q:  You don't know the reason he went up there before he ate his breakfast, do you?  Had he any occasion to go up in that room before eating his breakfast?

A:  The shot firer?

Q:  The shot firer?

A:  No, no reason that I know of.

Q:  There must have been something to draw his or attract his attention  up there?

A:  Well, I can't answer that question.  I don't know anything about it.

Questions by Mr. Brown, juror:

Q:  I would like to ask you a question or two Mr. Oakley.  Is there at any time that you  have found, in number one mine, that the cap rock comes down and disturbs the brattice?

A:  There is at various times but I can't enumerate the dates and days.

Q:  It has happened?

A.  It has happened.

Q:  Because after the investigation committee, as I understood from your statement, made it's inspection of the mine they came to the conclusion that it was a gas explosion caused by gas being ignited by the fire boss's lamp in room number seven, number thirty entry.  Was that your statement?

A:  Yes.

Q:  then there must have been a cause forthe (sic) [for the] gas accumulating in that room after the fire boss reported that place clear.  If that has happened, there is a possibility that it might have happened in that room that morning after the fire boss was in.  Now one question about your shots.  When do you fire shots in your wide pieces?

A:  Noon and night.

Q:  Do they tamp the holes just before shooting?

A:  Only when ready to shoot them.

Q.  You tamp the holes and shoot right away after?

A:  Yes.

Q:  And in the narrow places you shot when?

A:  Any time.

Q:  And the shot inspector inspects the shots of course?

A:  Yes, sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't.

Q:  There must have been some reason for this firer being called up in the room here by the digger, where he was found, or he might have found something himself.

A:  Well, I can't explain that.  I don't know why he was there.

Q:  There must have been something wrong?

A:  It is peculiar that he should be there that early in the morning, unless he went up there to repair the brattice.

Q:  there was no necessity of him being up there to tamp holes?

A:  No, not at that time; but he could have been called in there to repair some brattice before he came back to make a shot inspection.

Q:  Have you noticed at any time in the thirty entry that this condition occurred, that this cap rock would come down and break the brattice down and the gas would come down and burn, in little jets?

A:  No, I haven't; because if the rock comes down the miners see it and notifies the shot inspector.

Q:  Yes; and it seems to me that it might have occurred this morning.

A:  It is possible; yes, sir.

Q:  The fire boss reported everything clear, so there must have been gas there to be lighted; gas from some source.  How in making your inspection of the mine, that is, yesterday after all the men were recovered, the bodies, in the twenty seventh entry; how far do you figure that explosion proceeded in the twenty seventh entry?

A:  Well, we traced the flame practically into about the forty sixth and forty seventh rooms.  There was no disturbance in the entry, practically, to twenty; and it slit the disturbance from twenty for about forty two.

Q:  That would denote, in your opinion, that the gas in forty five room in the twenty seventh entry didn't have nothing to do with the explosion?

A:  Possibly, because the first brattice is still close to the face of the room, not fifteen feet from the face.  I am positive of that.

Q:  Also because of the fact that some men came out of the face of that entry alive?

A:  Yes, sir; some of the men came out from the face of that entry alive.

Q:  And also north of that?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Now in the twenty eight entry.  How far do you figure it proceeded in twenty eight?

A:  I don't know.

Q:  The twenty ninth the same?

A:  The twenty ninth the same.

Q:  Now in the thirtieth entry;  in making your inspection in there what did you find in there that would lead you to believe the explosion took place in number seven room?

A:  From the fact of finding the dead bodies in the room.

Q:  What other reason?

A:  Well, everybody in thirty was burned.

A [believe this should be a Q]: And isn't it a fact that in the thirtieth entry, isn't it a fact that a car was thrown out and off of the track, and in every other the car was thrown in and off the track?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Which would denote that the force of the explosion came from room number seven in thirty entry?

Q:  And the fire boss was burned quite extensively?

A:  Yes, the fire boss was badly burned and the miner in that room was burned b d (sic) [bad].

Q:  Now this night shift pumper; what time does he leave down there?

A:  He leaves there at eight o'clock.  He comes up on the second entry.

Q:  Carr?

A:  No, the day shift pumper was Carr.

Q:  Do you know whether those pumps were running or not at the time he left down there?

A:  I don't know for sure but I think the pumper had shut three of the pumps off and was walking to twenty six to start twenty six when the accident happened; and had reached the twenty seventh backup.

Q:  That was that Jack Martin was it?

A:  Yes.

Q:  He was on the night shift?

A:  No, the day shift pumper.

Q:  The night shift pumper was all right; he was out of the mine?

A:  Yes, he come out.

Q:   The reason I am asking this question is that I was down there myself at the location of the pump and I was wondering whether there was a possibility of that pump being shut off and shutting off the ventilation in between the two shifts.

Q [believe this should be a A]:  There is no possibility of that because it takes three hours to shut the ventilation off.

Q:  It would have to be stopped three hours?

A:  Yes, sir.

MR. BROWN:  That's about all I have at this time.

MR. QUEALY:  May I ask the witness a question.

CORONER:  Certainly.

Questions by Mr. Quealy:
Q:  You stated in the first part of your testimony that after Turk reported to you a slight puff in the manway you looked out and saw smoke coming out of the fan.  Did you?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Are you sure?

A:  Not immediately.

Q:  Was it smoke?

A:  Well, it looked like smoke or dust.

Q:  Did you investigate to find out whether or not it was smoke?

A:  Mr. Hall investigated and said it was smoke.

Q:  It is not a fact that I came and saw you and went over and opened the fan saw it was not smoke; that it was dust?

A:  I don't know whether you investigated the fan but you came over there.

Q:  I went over and investigated the fan and opened it and found that it was dust; and then after that what happened between you and I?  I asked you what you thought would cause the trouble and what did you say?

A:  I said at first I thought someone had blowed the stopping out that was firing a shot off on the south side of the mine.

Q:  Didn't you say you thought it was a blow out shot?

A:  Afterwards.  When Mr. Hall phoned and said he found the pumper dead and a stopping blown out then I said it might have been a blow out shot.

Q:  And then what was the first real discovery that there was some considerable disturbance in the mine that attracted your attention more than what John Turk told you?

A:  The trip being off the track at seventeen and Mr. Hall reporting the stoppings blown.

Q:  And Mr. Hall and Mr. Motto went down?

A:  Examining the stoppings, yes.

Q:  And they were sent down to see what the trouble was and to come back and report and they phoned back and went on it.

A:  Yes.

Q:  Tom Roberts is a certified man, is he?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  And so is his brother?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  And he, as a watchman, that day had authority to take his brother's position as a certified man and go and examine his district?

A:  Yes.

MR.  QUEALY:  That's all Mr. Coroner.
(ended transcription of testimony on page 15)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 16)

Question by Mr. Brown, Juror:
Q:  Mr. Oakley, in looking through this record book here; the day before this accident happened--this is just a question about the rock is all; you have a thousand cubic feet of gas reported on seventeen room on thirty entry.  Cause, brattice broken down by fall of rock from the roof.  All brattice was repaired and the gas was removed by ventilation by eight thirty A.M.  That is the day before the accident.

A:  Yes, sir;  there is a number of reports like that in there.

Q:  That is the reason I asked that question, because it appeared to me while in the mine that could happen, and that proves it right there that it happened and knocked this brattice cloth down, where the cap rock fell.

MR.  QUEALY:  Would that occur in any mine that has such cap rock?

MR.  BROWN:  Any mine.  We have it occur regularly in Cumberland; the same thinlg (sic).  It is only a matter of  trying to find out where it came from.  Mr. Quealy; because it is possible for the gas to get in that room after the fire boss reported it clear.

Questions by Mr. McAllister, Juror:
Q:  Mr. Oakley, when this room number seven was repaired, where the explosion occurred; was there any rock found when they went up to explore the room?

A:  We couldn't tell that Mr. McAllister because the damage in that room would stop us from forming any conclusion on that point, because all the brattice was down.

Q:  But there were no indications of any rock to knowk (sic) that brattice down, was there?

A:  Well, I say we couldn't tell that.

Questions by Mr. Bird, Juror:
Q:  Now Mr. Oakley, at the time the explosion occurred, you as mine foreman were on the outside of the mine.  This gas watchman was on the inside; and number thirty entry is reported all clear of gas, all the working places.  Still you maintain that the explosion started from number seven room, on number thirty entry?

A:  That was the joint conclusion arrived at by the investigating committee; myself and Mr. Patterson and others.

Q:  Who would you, within your own mind, hold responsible for that explosion?  Anyone?

A:  I couldn't hold anyone responsible for anything that took place between the fire boss's examination and afterward.

Q:  You couldn't under the conditions.  You have got a good supply of air.  You have got a certified man as gas watchman.  You comply with the law in every way, and within myself I don't see where you can hold the company responsible.  That must have been some negligence with the man or the party of men as was working there.  You have got a safety lamp as was found uncoupled right at the seat where you claim the gas watchman was working at that time.

A:  Yes, sir; the Mine Inspector is holding that.

Q:  And according to your evidence it has blown down that room and blown out both ways; that must have been the scene from where the explosion started.  Was it gas?

A:  It couldn't have been a shot, Mr. Bird; because the men was in the face.

Q:  And then it must have been gas.  No shots were fired into the room, in the morning previous, before noon, is there?

A:  No.

Q:  There is a mystery somewhere.  I am through.

MR. QUEALY:  Mr. Coroner, I would like to ask the witness a question in order that the Jury may know what kind of lamps were used in that mine.

CORONER:  Certainly.

A:  Safety lamps.

Q:  What kind of safety lamps?

A.  Wolf safety lamps.

Q:  What other lamps.

A:  Electric cap lamps.

Q:  Yes.  Wolf safety lamps and electric cap lamps?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Now what is the principal lamp used?

A:  The principal lamp used is the electric cap lamp by all employees of the company.  The flame safety lamp is used by gas inspectors only.

Q:  The electric lamp is presumed to be safe and would not light any gas?

A:  Absolutely safe.

Q:  And the shot firers as rule use safety lamps?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Wolf safety lamps?

A:  Yes.

Questions by Mr. Bird, Juror:
Q:  Were all the shot firers certified men?

A:  Roberts was the only one.

Q:  How long could you say he was shot firer?

A:  I couldn't say because he was there before I got there. Mr. Quealy, how long has Sager been fire boss in the mine?

MR.  QUEALY:  I couldn't answer that question.  He is one of my very oldest men.  He has been there a long while.

Q:  Then he was considered competent in every way for the position?

MR.  QUEALY:  He was considered a very good man, sir.

MR. SNEDDON:  Mr. Sager gained his certificate while I was Mine Inspector and he has been fire boss for at least seven or eight months that I know of.

MR.  BROWN:  I would like to ask the Coroner if, when we have finished with this witness, we could have a miner from the twenty ninth entry sworn in as a witness next. 

MR.  CORONER:  Yes, sir; when we have finished with Mr. Oakley.  Are there any more questions to be asked this witness?  No more questions being asked you me be excused Mr. Oakley.
WHEREUPON said witness was excused.

was then called to the witness stand, and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:
Q:  Mr. Phillip, just give the jury your testimony as to your experience following the explosion.

A:  Following the explosion?

Q:  From the time you left the mouth of the mine with the report of the fire boss, until you went down into the mine.

A:  I was told to take the inside drive of the twenty nine entry.

Q:  You are a driver?
A:  Yes, sir.  An so we went down on the first man trip at seven twenty.  When we got up to the barn John Warhol, another driver, he took his own horse and the Clyde horse, on that another fellow had been driving all the time, which he had been told to drive, and in the meantime August--I don't know his last name; he is standing right here; he was told to take Henry K(unreadable) horse, which is the "Nig" horse; and I was trying to urge him to take the "Nig" horse and told him they told me to give him the "Nig" horse and to take the outside drive all the time but he wouldn't; and I, of course, didn't want to take the inside track.

MR.  BROWN:  In other words you wanted to get the best of the other fellow?

A:  Yes, but he wouldn't stand for that.  He told me to take that horse and I says "All right, I will take the inside horse: and thee was two empty cars left there and we was waiting until the next man trip came down and I told him I would take this car.  I found two loads in the top and one load in the back and I went through to the back of the entry and they were just getting ready to fire a shot in the back entry so I pulled back in to the twenty first slant and left the door open waiting for Jack Kiddy to come in with some cars, and I left it open for a minute and thought if he didn't come in a minute I would close the door; and I waited for three minutes and then went back and closed the door in twenty one slant to keep the circulation of the air going, and I went back and was sitting on the car waiting for him to give me some empty cars so I could make the transfer and go back with the empty cars to the face of the back entry; so I was standing on the car waiting for him to come and give me some empty cars, and I felt something on my ears; it felt lik (sic) something pierced my ears, and all over, and after that the miners came running out.  I had been sitting on the car I guess for four or five minutes after closing the door, waiting for him to come in with the empty trip, and I should judge it was around eight twenty or eighty twenty five when this concussion came in there and the men came running down out of the rooms and talking to each other.  They said, "What done that?" and I told them I didn't know but I told them I thought there was an explosion some place, and that was the talk leading up to the explosion.  The other drivers hadn't come in yet with the empty cars up to twenty one room.

(ended transcription of testimony on page 22)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 25)

was then called to the witness stand and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:
Q:  Joe, you may tell the jury your experiences during the day preceding the following explosion.

A:  I work in the entry.

Q:  In the entry?

Q:  Yes, twenty nine top entry.

A:  Yes, sir.  And I don't know only what the brother Phillip explained because we was all there together and that is what we know about the explosion.  We don't know which way come.

Q:  How far is the face of that entry in from the main slope?

A:  Thirty two room, because two of this ent--(interruption)

Q:  (By Mr. Brown)  About eighteen hundred feet?

MR.  BIRD:  About two thousand feet?

Q:  Did you feel this explosion?

A:  Yes, I fellum (sic) on my ear; just ringing in both ear and stinging back and forth for about two or three minutes; we was fell it on the head.

Q:  Then what did you do?

A:  We just keep quiet and come out a little ways the shot firer was going out ahead, outside of it, and we wanted to find out what it be and he was hollering "Let's try to get out because somethings wrong and there is some gas or whatever", and so we all tried to get through, and the damp was so strong we couldn't stand it and someone run ahead of  we all and did not come back again, so we go back again because we know inside we have pretty good air, so we go back and there was four men less of twenty nine that time; and Brother Phillips and me and Gus Barkala and one more fellow, we fixed that place up fist thing, the twelve room.

Q:  About how far did you get out, towards the slope?

A:  On number one room.

Q:  You come out to number one room?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Did the air begin to get bad when you got there?

A:  No.

Q:  It made your head feel dizzy?

A:  Yes, and I pretty near was knocked down.

Q:  You were nearly knocked down?

A:  Yes, I was nearly knocked down, then I run back.

(ended transcription of testimony on page 27)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 29)
was duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:
Q:  Mr. Pavelian, you may tell the jury what happened on the day of the explosion.

A:  I just could tell so much what them two other boys tell.

Q:  Just tell something briefly like Joe here did; just tell about the same thing.

A:  Yes, we was walking around there and so all trying to get out two or three places if we could make it but we couldn't because it was already strong smoke and he was after that explosion; and after that explosion I was myself right on the slope two times, myself with another fellow.  One time with Mike Puski and another time with another fellow, but this smoke don't never let me come out.  I see it is pretty bad and then I turn back on the inside.

Q:  What do you do in the mine?

A:  I was a shot inspector.

Q:  Is that your regular job, shot inspector?

A:  That is my regular job, shot inspector.  I was trying to get outside to find a place to get the men out in the safety place but fellows was some of them would stay with me and others would get in hurry and run right out in the slope and they never came back.
(ended transcription of testimony on page 30)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 32)

B. Fukumitsu
was then called to the wienstand (sic), and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:
Q:  Mr.  Fukumitsu, you may tell the jury what happened on this day.

A:  I am first morning I go ask firer just twenty five, twenty six, twenty eight entry and he says "all right, both rooms".  I got in man trip and go down the entry and going in the first car and I hear the shoot off long time and all wind come in my back and the smoke too and I go down the cross-cut and stay long time and I was down in the entry and that is smoke and I go back twenty sixth room and sat down a long time in twenty sixth room and I go same entry entry again and smoke I cannot do, you know, and I see my watch pretty near half past eleven and in bad of smoke clean in the entry and I go outside through the parting and some boy get down in there and I said to boy and he say his another boys just the lamp, but the man, just the lamp, look little, and too much smoke there and I go back to the back entry.  They come after I go down the front and go back the cross cut to go down my room again to my room; pretty good clean air before and we wait for man all the time and maybe we think come somebody and pretty near five o'clock somebody come and I don't know what man and he holler for me.

(ended transcription of testimony on page 33)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 35)

MR. RUSEKI (sic)
was then called to the witness stand, and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner, Mr. Holmes:
Q:  You may tell the jury what happened the day of the disaster.

A:  The first I know of it, the Bell Telephone called some time after nine o'clock; I don't know, possibly at nine fifteen or nine twenty.  Shortly after nine.  Somebody on the 'phone said, "We would like some help.  We think we have had an accident in number one mine.  Bring some men and any apparatus you might have.  I telephoned to the three different mines there and told them to get a crew together and come immediately and then left and drove right on up to number one mine.  I met Mr. Quealy and asked him what was the matter and he said they had had some trouble and he hadn't been able to determine just what had happened.  He said that his fan was all right.  Presently the trip came up and myself with some others went down and on the trip, and there was a small cave on the track, off the slope.  I can't tell the location because I don't know the mine well enough, and we went down and met Mr. Oakley and Dick Turner, I think, were the only two men I knew, but there were some others there, and they were discovering where the stoppings had blown out and were repairing them as rapidly as possible.  We continued on down the first place I heard Mr. Oakly mention the name of any of the men was at twenty five.  He said this entry was his and we would see if we could get in there.  There was one man working there and we went in and found the man on the ledge, dead, and went on down from there and found one of the places where the stoppings had blown out, but on the whole the conditions I didn't think were so bad.  We got down, I don't know just how far, but probably around before we hit the twenty seventh entry and we began to run onto men down there; and we noticed a light moving up and presently we got up with him, and we couldn't get very much information out of him, but he seemed to think there was some more men in the twenty seventh back entry, and we got down a little further and found a Jap boy dead and pretty soon we run onto another Jap who was coming up and making considerable noise; and we got him and took him to one side, and the air was following us up, and this Jap seemed to be in good shape.  The air was following us up in good shape as we went on down, but we were all suffering some, but we got most of it from going into the back entries and corners where the air didn't get a chance to circulate, and we got down as far as the twenty seventh and the conduit one really seemed to be a little better.  There wasn't anything on the track and we still had pretty fair air and in the meantime we had discovered quite a number of bodies on the slope and we examined a few and some of them were burned but most of those what I looked at seemed to have died from the effects of after damp, and we got on down to twenty nine and somewhere along in there I asked Mr. Oakley to go back and see if he couldn't rustle a trip up because we were getting considerably out of touch; and in the meantime we had been joined by one or two other rescue crews and we ventured into twenty seven a little bit and seen that the over case was all right and a current was going around and we went on down into the twenty seventh and ventured in there a ways and found the over case  there in good shape and went on inside to thirteen room, I think it was.  By this time we were all suffering quite a little bit from the effects of the damp and the crew was small because us few had ventured on down to thirty.  We came back to the slope we found the crew had gone down to thirty, and they came back and said it was too strong to go into and we had been there just a few minutes when the boys came out of twenty nine.  Some of them said they had heard a noise or something and thought somebody was out there.  We couldn't get into thirty; the pump had stopped and we were told that it had given the water a chance to accumulate and it didn't take the air as well as, the upper entries had done, so we waited there a while and then we started back up to see how far we could get into the different entries, and we finally got--I personally went into twenty seven and twenty nine and Mr. Martin from Glenco bratticed all the other entries and throw the full current of air into thirty, which they did.  By the time they had that accomplished someone had come in behind and gone into about twelve room, and he said at around eight he had found the slant door broken and  had his workmen repairing it. After that was repaired we waited there for a few minutes and we went on into twelve room and found one of the stoppings blown out and that  was repaired and going into thirty we noticed there had been much more violence in thirty that the other entries. It had been disturbed more than the other entries we had been through; and we started for the top end where it originated, the end of thirty entry, however we found that the men we did find had seemed to--with the exception of six or seven the men had all died just where they stood, and as we got inside they seemed that they were pretty badly burned.  Some four we picked up I think between the end of the parting and this twelve room.  We waited a while and this air didn't seem to be clearing as fast as we expected but while we were sitting there I called the attention of Mr. Bird to the fact that it was the only place that we had seen that really indicated that it was where it had started.  Particularly I noticed---I didn't notice that the cars, but I particularly noticed that they had some big timbers sitting there and on the south side of the timber it was very dusty, lots of (unreadable) on it, while on the north side it was practically clean.  However, I didn't notice the cars on the track because when I came in and continued to the end we were still trying to figure out where it happened and how it happened because the thirtieth was quiet we, I thought; in fact there was quite allot of water on it, and we were under the impression, from something that had been said, that it was a blow out shot and I couldn't figure out how it happened with any blow out shot; and we had learned that there was--that gas was reported in that entry and we stayed there at twelve room until about twelve fifteen or twelve thirty, and then we ventured on in and got in just a little past fifteen and then the whole crew was pretty well in, and we had a pretty good current of air moving, and we decided it would be the best thing to do to let the air work in there and clean it out, and the crew could come back in the morning, so we left and got up on top probably about quarter to one.
(ended transcription of testimony on page 39)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 43)

Mr. Pete Boam
was then called to the witness stand, and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner, Mr. Holmes:
Q:  State your experience to the jury, Mr. Boam.

A:  Well, the first word I got about it I was working in number one mine at Cumberland, at ten minutes to eleven the gas watchman was there, McLain, and myself; and Mr. Brown come down and said that something had happened up at Frontier.  I was given instructions to get my apparatus in shape and fully equipped, which I done, and loaded them up and took two cars and landed up at Frontier mine at twelve thirty with the apparatus, and we never done anything until Mr. Peterson, the mine man, come, and when we organized two apparatus teams, and the first team went down somewhere around two o'clock, wasn't it Mr. Moon?

MR. MOON:  Just about two o'clock.

A:  (continued)  I never went down with that team, and I went down with the next team and went straight down to the thirtieth entry and met Mr. Brown, our Superintendent, and then we got orders to stay at thirty entry on account of the pump being repaired and for us to stay there in case of any emergencies, and while there McLain come running out of the twenty seventh entry and down to the pump, down the slope, to thirty, and he says there is two men down in twenty seven entry and the rescue crew was wanted right away, and we turned around with our appliances on our back and walked from thirty entry up to twenty seven and into twenty six room and found the two men in there fresher than we was because we had these apparatuses on and they was feeling better than we was, so I started back to thirty entry again and I found one man down there walking around alone.  I don't know this man's name; but he had a brother in that thirty entry he says and I got the man sitting down for a few minutes and we got our wind and finally decided--no, I took this man up to the twenty seventh and put him on the trip and told them to take him outside and then I went down and we was working with the pumps and that was when Mr. Russell he came out of the twenty seven room and down to thirty and that is when they was discussing about the explosion and some of them thought it occurred in that entry and we come to the conclusion that if there was any miners in that entry that they would be dead from all indications in that entry.  Then we came to the conclusion as it was best to block all the entries above and block them off tight and that would get all the circulation in thirty entry, which we did afterward, and by that time there was two men, three or four rescue men, come down with their apparatus and I sent four of my men out and stayed myself, so we started on and fixed up the brattice in the back entry.  Mr. Bird and I and Mr. Moon; Mr. Fearn and I taking the brattice and Mr. Moon was holding it back for us to see.  This was after we closed off twenty nine and had men up above closing off twenty seven and twenty eight, so we waited there for a while and took our time and then started--Mr. Moon and Mr. Fearn and myself went down to the thirtieth entry and walked in to ten room.  At number eight slant was where we found the door blown out and we came back out to the fresh air, three of us, and stayed there a while and got feeling pretty good and started exploring again and got some more men and while going in that entry we repaired the stoppings, as we was going, in advancing, and  number eight room slant was the first one that cleared and the next one was number twelve room, and that is where we all sat down and took a rest for a while and then got up to venture forth and only went about twenty feet and we stopped again.  That was betweenthe (sic) fourteen and fifteen rooms, and the next morning I went in with the apparatus on and noticed where it was; and the rooms wasn't marked that night, and the next morning they was marked; and then after we stopped that time we came outside and we come to the conclusion that the stoppings was fixed sufficiently so the circulation could take its natural course and clear her out so the next morning we went up to the mine again and organized a rescue crew again and Mr. Sullivan, a car man, Mr. Fern, myself, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Buchanon, we had the entry, the main entry, clear of all gas into fifteen room at that time

Q:  Was it fifteen or nineteen?

A:  Nineteen.

(note on the transcript there is a "Q" here but it is believed that it is part of the above answer.)
Q:  And we got to nineteen room and we got into nineteen room and got our wind before we put on our apparatus, so we all put our apparatus on and started into the main entry, at first exploring.  Going in the main entry, from all indications, when we was going in there, we thought it might have been a blow out shot in the main entry, and on getting to the face of the main entry everything was in condition and the cars standing there not disturbed.  In fact, the coal had been shot down the night before so we retreated from there and Mr. Sullivan had taken two gas tanks, and so we retreated front here and went down through the cross out into the back entry and find one piece of brattice down there that was all.  Going to the face of that entry we find it in fair condition where the miners had been drilling a hole, and a loaded car was about one hundred feet from the face.  Then we went in the top or back entry, five or seven, and discovered two bodies, one of the miners was from the main entry.  We discovered two bodies and went out further and we found the driver's horse out on the slant; and we came back there, up to the main entry, and reported what we found in that entry.  We set there about ten or fifteen minutes to take a rest and got the stretcher and crew and went and fetched those two men out, and to be satisfied I couldn't find the driver and two of their crew, and went back all around where the horse was, all through the back entry, and could find them;  I couldn't find him no where at all, so we all came back again and started exploring the rooms.  We separated our party up and Mr. Fearn and Mr. Sullivan going together and I myself taking two men with me, Mr.Buchanon (sic) and Mr. Robinson.  Mr. Fearn and Mr. Robinson went up seventeen and eighteen room;--went up eighteen and down seventeen, never finding anything there, and I took my two men and went up fifteen and down sixteen--up sixteen and down fifteen, rather, and never finding no bodies in the rooms, which rooms were in pretty bad condition,--brattice broken off so we skipped thirteen and fourteen rooms, skipped them as the mine foreman says it wasn't necessary to search them rooms, so Mr. Fearn and Mr. Sullivan went into thirteen room there and I took my two men and went up to number twelve room and down number eleven, exploring and looking for men, and finding number eleven room in pretty bad condition and blown at thirty when their pump was, not exploring, and coming down there they came out to eight room and by the time Mr. Fearn had run out and we decided to go there and I started up with Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Sullivan told me to stay back and said he would take my tank and go up into number eight and see if he could find anything, and we went into number seven room where we found this Jap about twenty feet from the face, fetching him down as they came.  He was burned pretty bad, and Mr. Sullivan told me when he got down the entry, he says "That is the worst and hottest room I have been in yet", and I took my things and went up number five room where we found the shot firer's bucket and his jumper.  We explored number five and never found any indications there, and number five room was in the same condition--no disturbance whatever, and we examined the cross-cuts over into the six room and also the cross-cut out to the south side of number four room, never finding anything, we came down and retreated out, and after we got out to the manway Mr. Sullivan took the apparatus and went up the manway quite a ways and never found anything up there, so we came outside.  We came outside and organized another team and sent another team down.  I was outside and we gave the other team instructions where to go too where we hadn't never been, and that other apparatus team going down we told them to go in the slant and make the stopping in the slant in room and ran the back entry from the inside; between the slant of eight room and nineteen room--between eight room slant and twenty room slant they find two bodies--a driver and a digger, so that's all I know about those fellows.  They explored that number five afterward and went over it, over the same grounds as I did. 
(ended transcription of testimony on page 48)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 49)

Questions by Mr. Brown:

A:  And then, after I came up from Cumberland for the purpose of getting the apparatus to take them back there, Mr. Sullivan and one Mr. Birchard came up to the mine and just as I got in at number one mine Mr. Sullivan hollered  me over and says "Pete, I would like you to do me a favor if you will", and I says "Alright, whatever it is I'll try to do it", and he says "I have been down there this morning and got quite a whiff of that stuff and I am kind of sick.  Will you volunteer to take my place with Mr. Richard?"  and I says "Certainly I will", so we gathered the appliances up that we decided to take and I thought I would feel a little better by the time I got down there, which I did, and we come down there into the thirtieth entry, in the seventh room, and we met two men--Bureau of Mine men there, and the mine inspector, and the mine foreman, and also the engineer of the coal company and Mr. Roberts was down there; and we took notes for Mr. Roberts to come out on account of his brother, and we set down and was talking to the mine inspector, and we was for separating but we was short one safety lamp, and we tried to find a safety lamp so we put on our apparatus and advanced up the face of number seven room in thirty entry.  While exploring that entry--we came in that entry and I goes up to the end of the brattice and finds some new brattice there where the shot inspector had been extending the brattice.  On the end of the brattice we was trying to find the safety lamp and found the safety lamp, open, and fetched that over here--Mr. Sullivan picking up the frame and I picking up the oil vessel and the  match that had been lighted.  This part (illustrating) was up closer to the face of the room, laying like that; and this was down this way, about that far apart (illustrating), laying like that.  This burned match was laying right down at the side of it like that.  (Illustrating).

Q:  A burned match?

A:  Yes, right down at the side of it, that way.  That is just the position the lamp was in when they found it, Mr. Sullivan picking up the frame, this part, and I picking up this part and the match.

Q:  Mr. Sullivan picked up this part and ypu (sic) picked up this part?

A:  Yes, he picked up that part, and I picked up this part and the match.

Q:  Eight feet from the face of the room?

A:  This was about, I should judge, twelve feet from the face, as near as we could judge.

Q:  Twelve feet?

A:  Yes, right at the end of the brattice there, and this was straight across from the last prop of the brattice, this one was, straight across; and then picking up that safety lamp, him picking up this part and I picking up this part, I handed this part to Mr. Moon, this part, and Mr. Sullivan handed that part of it to Mine Inspector Mr. Patterson. 

Q:  And you found this one?

A:  I found that one.

Q:  Where you found this lamp, was there any gas head there?

A:  I don't know.

Q:  You don't know how much?

A:  I couldn't say.

Q:  You didn't measure the room?

A:  I didn't measure the room.

Q:  About what was the height of the room from where you found this laying up to the top?

A:  I should judge about eight feet.

Q:  Eight feet high there?

A:  Yes.

Q:  There might have been two or three feet then?

A:  Yes.

Q:  The reason they sent for you was because they couldn't get up with a safety lamp to explore this and sent outside for your to get the apparatus?

A:  Yes.

Q:  And there was three men down there, you found?

A:  Four men there.

Q:  Three with appliances on?

A:  Three with appliances on.  There was more men down below waiting for us to come down there.  So that is the last thing we done.  I came out of the 27th entry and three of Buchanon's mine me went in with Mr. Patterson and Mr. Oakley and the engineer.

Q:  Would you really think, then, as that Roberts had been there and struck that match with the intention of lighting  that lamp with the gas overhead?

A:  That is a question whether the man knowed the gas was there or not.

Q:  Would you believe that, Mr. Russell?

A:  That is pretty hard to say.  It looks very bad having the top off a lamp and a match at the side of it.

Q:  Of course that is not very practical of a fire boss to sit down underneath any gas and light his lamp.  I think when he is taking his examination he will mostly say he will go to a place where he finds the air fresh and pure before he lights the lamp.  Doesn't he say that, Mr. Quealy, generally?


A:  (witness)  He might have been up at the end of that brattice and figured he would come in the back there to light it, and you see he was only twelve feet from the face of the room.

Q:  And was the brattice broken down there or was it all up?

A:  No, sir; it was all down.

Q:  All down?

A:  Yes, sir; all down, and singed--burned.

Q:  Of course that would break down at the time of the explosion, I presume?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Yes.

A:  And if he did it that we he (sic) undoubtedly figured he would come over to that side of the brattice which would make him safe.

Q:  It was a bad move for a fire boss to make to light his lamp there?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Which side was he on?

A:  The south side.

Q:  On the intake side?

A:  Yes, on the intake side.

Q:   it was a bad thing to do; that is, if he knew there was any gas there.  Of course, it was reported all clear.  How far was Roberts away from that when he was found, do you know?

A:  I was not there when he was found.

Questions by Mr. McAllister:

Q:  Now, when you picked up this lamp there, Mr. Boam, Did you come to the conclusion in your own mind that is what caused that?

A:  Yes, sir; in my own mind. 

Q:  Didn't you firmly believe that the explosion occurred through trying to light this lamp with a match?

A:  Yes, sir.

Questions by Mr. Brown:

Q:  Then, in your opinion, Pete, from all indications, you figure that was the seat of the explosion?

A:  Yes, sir; from all indications, that was the seat of the explosion, right in that room.

Q:  You were with the examining party yesterday, were you?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  You have been in there each day since the accident occurred?  Each of the the three days?

A:  Yes sir; three days.

CORONER HOLMES:  Any more questions to ask the witness?  If not, you  may be excused.
WHEREUPON, said witness was excused.

Mr. Roberts
was then called to the witness stand, and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:

Questions by the Coroner:

Q:  You may tell the jury what you know about this.

A:  Well, I am employed by the Kemmerer Coal Company as a gas watchman.  That is my regular employment, and I begged off leave for two days to go out fishing.  When this occurred I was on my vacation of two days.  We got about twenty eight miles up the river when we heard about it and I come down quick as I could; I think it would be about twelve-thirty when I landed here and went up to the mine and started down the mine about one o'clock, I should imagine, and went down to thirty entry, and of course this was on the thirtieth entry, and we went along with the helmet crew--I didn't have any helmet and had a safety lamp, but the helmet crew went into the back entry and eighty room and we went along the top entry a little ways to eleven room but not up into the rooms because we didn't have no helmets, and pretty soon this helmet crew came out and one of them called out as they discovered two bodies in the back entry and went into the back entry with the stretchers and brought out the two bodies and I took them to the surface and come away from there and decided that thirty had been explored fully and decided to go back to the brattice at the twenty seven entry to find the fire boss that was, and I stayed up there for an hour and a half or two hours and then I went back down again and explored twenty seven, and I didn't have on any helmet, just a safety lamp and I advanced up the first working room, thirty seven room, and I couldn't get to the fact (sic--face) because there was a little gas up there; that was before we got all the brattice in there.  I was going to try to work in there all the way through but had to retreat back down again on account of too much gas, and I went up thirty eight and found the same thing applied there, but managed to get down close, and came from thirty eight to thirty nine which was abandoned workings.  Thirty nine and forty are abandoned, but forty one is a working room; and I went up one room and down another, and through the cross-cuts, and didn't find anything.  The conditions inside twenty seven was normal.  It is one of my entries and I make the run and I didn't find any because that is my entry and I didn't find anything at all on the twenty seventh entry on the inside; so that turned out to be about twelve o'clock and he made the remark as Assistant Mine Foreman that we had better get out and let a new fresh crew come on and I begged him to lets take another look on thirty entry as I was anxious that we should find the fire boss, so they decided we would do that and we went back up thirty and advanced with the safety lamp up seven room in thirty entry to the first cross-cut and the assistant mine foreman was in the rear and he says there was a cross cut here, a stopping blown out, that should be fixed, so I just got down in the middle of the track while they fixed the stopping, and when they fixed that I proceeded again slowly up the room and come to the second cross-cut and that was also blown out, so I sits down there in the middle of the track and they hollered to me to stop while they repaired it, so just as I puts my lamp down and stretches out my hand I touches the fire boss on the back and I hollered and told them "He is here!"  "We have got him!", so then we retreated back, and when we found him it would be about one o'clock, by my watch, and we went back and got a stretcher and brought him out and brought him to the surface.

Q:  When you found him how far was he from the face?

A:  Well, I was sixty feet below that cross cut and I was stopping fifteen feet below the next fross (sic) cut.

Q:  You were sixty feet below that second cross-cut?

A:  You see I was stopped.

Q:  How far would you be from the face?  About a hundred feet would you say?

A:  Well, maybe around about that.  You see the second cross cut is where they stopped to repair the stopping and I was about fifteen feet in advance of that cross-cut, waiting, until they had fixed it when I put my hand on his back, and he was on the right hand side and in the railing, with one foot near a prop.

Q:  His lamp not being within any where from eight to twelve feet of the face, he must have dropped it if he lighted anything; he must  have dropped it and run?

A:  Yes, he must have dropped it and run on down the room; come out to the track and run down the middle of the track.  Now I notice you looking a the mark on that lamp--that dinge (sic) on the lamp.  That dinge (sic) has been there for some time.  That is my lamp.

Q:  That is your name there on it?

A:  Yes.

Q:  That dinge (sic) on the side there has been there for some time?

A:  Yes, it has been there for some time.

Q:  Now there was some evidence given here by one of the witnesses, I don't know which one now, but that there was another man found in that room the day before; a Jap coal digger?

A:  I was told that this mine rescue crew found this Jap.

Q:  How far down from the face?

A:  Twenty feet from the face.

Q:  Then if he was found twenty feet from the face and Mr. Roberts, you have just stated, the fire boss, was found about one hundred feet from the face, or possibly a little more, then the exploring party must have went up by him when they found the Jap coal digger?

A:  They went up number eight room and down number seven.

Q:  They they would come past him?

A:  They would pass him coming down, yes, sir.

Questions by Mr. Brown:
Q:  Mr. Roberts, is it practical for a fire boss to use a lamp in the condition this lamp is in now?

A:  When it is screwed up.

Q:  I mean when it is put together.

A:  Yes.

Q:   It is not locked?

A:  No.

Q:  You don't use any sparkers or anything like that?

A:  No, just open it in fresh air and light it.  That's all.

Questions by Mr. Bird:
Q:  Now you as a fire boss, when you loose your light at any time and you are up in the face of a room, do you practice lighting your lamp right there?

A:  No.

Q:  Where do you go?

A:  Right down the entry where you can figure on good cool fresh air.

Q:  How would you account for this lamp being broken, up at the top end of the room?

A:  The indications point that the fire boss had been trying to light his lamp.

Q:   Don't you think, Mr. Roberts, as a fire boss, it would be better to get a lamp up to date, with a sparker, to use in a gas mine?  I am not saying that you take these chances but it has been done in this case; but you have been shot inspector in the mine there and something might happen at any time that you might loose your light, which seems to have been done by the evidence shown here today; don't you think rather than to take chances on lighting your lamp that way it would be better to have a sparker  so you wouldn't have to do it that way?

A:  Now I would like to make a statement in regard to that.  It isn't very long ago that I read where the Bureau of Mines wasn't approving the sparkers  on these lights.

Questions by Mr. Brown:
Q:  But Mr. Roberts, couldn't you have this one repaired?  You could have it repaired and put up to date?

A:  Yes.

Q:  But this lamp has been passed and is supposed to be one of the safety lamps approved throughout the United States.  It is practically on the same principal as the Wolf but that is on there for that purpose.

A:  Yes.

Q:  And now there is another thing about that that I wish to bring out, and that is this; if you take that out, it is no more a safety lamp because you have this hole right up through the bottom of the lamp.

A:  Yes.

Q:  It certainly seems to me it is better to have an up to date lamp than to run the risk of opening the lamp in the mine.  You may operate that lamp that way ninety nine time and be alright, and then the one hundredth time something might happen.

MR. QUEALY;  Mr. Brown, isn't that a matter of judgement and information, where people differ slightly?

MR. BROWN:  Yes, it is.

CORONER:  If there are not more questions the witness may be excused.

MR.  QUEALY:  I would like to ask him another question.

Q:  Mr. Roberts, have you a certificate not only as fire boss but as mine foreman?

A:  I hold my foreman's certificate of the State of Wyoming and also a gas watchman's certificate from Lancastershire, England.

Q:  And Wyoming too?

A:  Yes, and Wyoming to.

(A voice.)  I would like to ask Mr. Roberts how he can account for the fact that Tom was so badly burned in this room and that match wasn't disturbed and the lamp wasn't disturbed any more than it was; still the force was enough to burn a man so much.  How do you account for that?

A:  The party to account for that would be the party who found the match in the room where it was laying.

MR. BIRD:  Shall I explain that?

THE CORONER:  Certainly.

MR.  BIRD:  You see, if that gas was ignited, he would run with the flame, and he was right into it, while if he would sit down right still where he was, he wouldn't have been burned so badly.  He run with the expansion, and it pick up force as it goes.

(A voice)  What would cause that?

MR. BIRD:  It picks up the oxygen in the air as it goes along and that adds to its force.

MR. RUSSEL:  As a matter of fact there wasn't any men burned on some of the entries.  I think that where they were badly burned was where they were sitting on the slopes or out where the force of the explosion overtook them, where it picked up dust or oxygen and gained in force.

(ended transcription of testimony on page 61)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 62)
Q:  How would you account for this explosion, when in that book number thirty at all working places was reported clear of gas at seven A.M.; then he went down there and goes into number seven room and this explosion occurs there?

A:  Yes.  Well, this room he come in wasn't on this run; he doesn't make that run.  That wasn't on his run whatever.

Q:  It was Sager that made that run?

A:  I think it was, yes.  And this was the last entry he does run previous to coming out to make his report.  His run was twenty nine and thirty, see.

Q:  You would have no idea then of the reason he had for going down to number eight room--number seven room, that early in the morning, after he went back into the mine again?

A:  It looks like to me there had been a small amount of gas in that place and it has not been reported.  It looks like that to me.  Of course that is only my opinion and I can't swear to that or anything of that kind, but the evidence points to my idea; why should he go into that room and never have his breakfast, the first thing, on returning down in the mine?

Q:  He had not had his breakfast?

A:  No, his bucket was full, and he had come right into this room going back down to the mine.  Of course that was his entry as a shot inspector.

(ended transcription of testimony on page 63)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 67)

CORONER HOLMES:  Are there any more questions to be asked this witness?  If not, you may be excused. WHEREUPON, said witness was excused.

State Mine Inspector, was then called to the witness stand and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:

Questions by the Coroner:
Q:  Mr.  Patterson, give the jury a brief statement of the condition as you found it.

A:  On the morning of August 14th, I was at number five mine, at Sublet.

Q:  Just a minute, Mr. Patterson, perhaps it would be best to qualify you.  What position do you hold?

A:  State Inspector of Coal Mines for District Number One. 

Q:  You hold a certificate to that effect?

A:  Yes.

Q:  You may proceed.

A:  On the morning of the 14th of August I was in number five mine in Sublet at the face of the seventh south entry when the Assistant Foreman at number five come in and told me that there was something wrong at Frontier in number one mine, and he said they called for some help from there so myself and the mine foreman Fred Slager came to the slope right away as quick as we could, of course, and took the trip from the seventh and come on top and gathered up a few men and got a car and come down here.  I couldn't say what time it was when I got here but I should judge it would be right close to eleven o'clock or maybe after eleven when I got to number one mine and met Mr. Quealy on top and asked him what the trouble was and he said that he thought the trip jumped the track and started up some dust and disarranged some things down there and caused, apparently, an explosion, that come out the mouth of the slope, this dust, and disturbance, so in company with Mr. Slager and two or three other men there we went down the slope and he remarked before we started down there that he thought there was some men down there working, including Mr. Russell, and a gang he organized on his way down, and I got down to the twenty ninth entry or right close to the twenty ninth entry and I saw men along the slope; quite a few men, laying along the slope, laying  dead, put on stoppings that had been blown. The stoppings that had been blown was replaced with canvass and the ventilation was going alright.  There was a few caves on the slope and I crossed over on it until I got to the twenty ninth entry and shortly after I came there Mr. Russell came out on the slope.  I think he came out from the twenty ninth entry; I know it was twenty nine or more; but he came up towards me and then he went back up the slope again and couldn't get into thirty and went back up the slope to twenty seven and went in on twenty nine parting and saw few men laying on the parting, but most of them were out on the open slope.  I think six or eight were on the parting, laying dead.

Well, I went up the slope still further to where there was a cave.  I couldn't tell you the place it was, but I think it was at twenty two, and then the men were working on that cleaning it up and trying to get a trip through and then I heard somebody say there was some men in twenty nine entry alive yet, so I went down the slope and got those men out and took them on the trip, and from that on I went in a few places, just from one place to another, and early in the afternoon, I should judge about two o'clock, the rescue party come down,--two of them.  Jimmie Hunter from Diamondville headed one party and Martin from Glencoe headed the other, and they come down to these entries and Martin and his crew went into twenty eight and Hunter and his crew went into twenty seven, and I received their reports from time to time and different things came along and I went down into the twenty ninth and the last thing I done in the evening I got sick and had to go outside.  I made two trips in the mine during the day and one at night, but the exploring parties or rescue parties went in those entries and done what they could to rescue any men that were there and there was two men came out of the twenty seventh entry, while I was there; two, Mike Pavliain and his partner, came out of four room from twenty nine; and there was one man came out of the twenty eighth entry that Martin sent out; two Jap boys, one of them was one of the witnesses, and they were alright.  The helmet troop of men worked in Thirty entry to try and recover the bodies but they decided to abandon it until the next morning.  About midnight we went outside.

(ended transcription of testimony on page 69)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 70)

Q:  Have you got one of your mine reports of the examination as you made of that mine?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Have you got it with you?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Could you let us see it?

A:  I think that is it.  (Handing paper to jurors.)

Q:  (reading)  "To whom it may concern:  This is to certify that on May 17th, 1923, I inspected mine number one, the property of the Kemmerer Coal Company, located at Frontier, Wyoming, accompanied by the mine foreman, John Oakley.  We visited twenty three, twenty seven, twenty eight, twenty nine and thirtieth entries, and several of their working places on those entries.  The ventilation is fair.  All their ways are clean and damp, and timber is resorted to where necessary.  Extreme care is being taken of all this property.  Tests of scales where miners' coal was weighed were made and found to be correct.  Amount of air at the intake, forty six thousand cubic feet per minute.  Amount of air in the return, fifty two thousand cubic feet per minute.  Number of men employed inside, one hundred and eighty.  Number of head of stock, seventeen.  Respectfully submitted, P.F. Patterson, State Mine Inspector, District Number One".

(ended transcription of testimony on page 71)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 74)
Q:  Have you formed any opinion within your own mind of what was the real cause and how it started?

A:  Well, my candid opinion would be that that room was the starting point; the source of the trouble, from the appearance of it.  The car on that room was thrown out, while every other car in that entry that I examined was thrown in towards the slope.  That would seem to indicate that the explosion came from that room.  And also, one of the props had six rocks sticking in it; and it is still there for anyone to go and see.

Q:  Did you take the rocks out?

A:  No.

Q:  You could take them out?

A:  Yes, but they have been put in there recently.

Q:  It is your opinion then that the explosion started in the bottom of this room?

A:  Yes.

CORONER HOLMES:  Are there any further questions to be asked the Mine Inspector ?  If not, you may be excused, Mr. Patterson. WHEREUPON, said witness was excused.

 was then called to the witness stand and being first duly sworn according to law, on his oath testified as follows, to-wit:
Questions by the Coroner:
Q:  Go ahead and tell the jury your experiences in this matter, from the first.

A:  From the beginning?

Q:  Yes.  What position do you hold with the Kemmerer Coal Company?

A:  Mine surveyor and engineer.   Tuesday morning, sometime between eight and quarter after eight and nine o'clock, I received a telephone call from Oakley asking me to bring down the helmets.  We was there within twenty minutes after the call, and we went over everything;  I had fixed them up the day before and we went over them again to see that everything was alright, and in the meantime Mr. Turner, Mr. Oakley and Mr. Hall and several others, I don't remember their names, had started down the slope, and the helmet crew, or three of them, were in the explosion.  We had two me there.  There was one man come and volunteered and said he had the training, and three of us started down the slope with the helmets.  We went down to seventeen and there we found Mr. Oakley, Mr. Turner and several others working around there fixing up the stopping, and proceeded, with the helmets, down, and got down as far as twenty entry and then came back and in the meantime we had the stopping fixed and the air was going on down the slope, and we sent up for more oxygen and we waited at seventeen until the oxygen tanks were sent down and then we proceeded down again.  While I was waiting, at seventeen, Mr. Russell and Mr. Hunter and several others--those were the only two I recognized, came down and joined us, Mr. Oakley and Mr. Turner, and some others; and we continued down the slope.  When the oxygen arrived I took one helmet and somebody from Diamondville, I don't remember who they were, helped me down with the rest of them.  We were taking down three helmets.  I met Mr. Hunter along the slope somewhere, I don't  just know where it was, and we found two men on  the slope, and I think they come out of twenty seven.  Joe Rameselli and S. Posey I believe were their names, and Mr. Hunter said to go back, and we started up the slope with these two men and left them where the trip was off the track and come down again, and I come down to thirty entry with the helmets and joined Russel's men, and the party went into twenty nine and we got to four room and found a not on a piece of coal that twenty eight men had gone up four room and twenty seven, and we stared for them, up four room, and came back and went on into twelve or thirteen room, I don't know which it was.  There was no canvass across the entry at that point.  Mr. Russell went under the canvass and decided it was too strong to (unreadable) there and we went down to thirty.  There we met Mr. Hunter and a party of men that couldn't get into thirty.  We started back up the slope--I don't know who, but I was with them; and we went in to twenty six where the pump is, and went down the manway and there found--, there in the cross cut we found five or six men.  I don't remember how many there were, but they were in a little place where there was a stream of water coming down.  There was somebody left there and I went on down into twenty eight entry and joined the party there and we came out on the slope.  Someone took my helmet from me at that point and I started back up the slope and picked up these two men that were taken out of twenty eight, and went up the slope with them to twenty entry, I think.  In the meantime, the trip--McLain came up.  They was going to start to pump in fifteen or seventeen I think.  He was going up fifteen to start the pump there when they located some more men in twenty nine entry.  I started up to see when the trip was coming down or where it was and in the meantime the trip was coming down and they picked up the men in twenty nine and after they came by where we were the trip was stopped and these other men were put on the trip and taken out.  This was somewhere around three o'clock and I went out on that trip, and didn't go down in the mine again that day.

The next morning I went down in the mine to gather up our helmets and get things in condition again.  then I went down in the mine again in the evening somewhere about six o'clock, I think, to get the two bodies that they had found in thirty entry, and I went inside thirty for a little ways and then came back and went up on the trip.

Yesterday morning I went down in company with Mr. Oakley and Mr. Patterson, and others, and went into thirty entry to try and decide where the explosion took place.  From thirty entry to try and decide where the explosion took place.  From thirty we went into twenty seven and then back to thirty again and then out of the mine.

Questions by Mr. Bird:
Q:  You was with the examining party yesterday?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  Was you?

A:  I was.

Q:  All day?

A:  Yes, sir.

Q:  What do you think about number seven room on thirty entry?

A:  I think that is where the explosion took place.

Q:  From gas?

(ended transcription of testimony on page 77)
(resumed transcription of testimony on page 80)

Questions by Mr. McAllister:
Q:  Mr. Coates, is it your opinion that the explosion occurred in this number seven room?

A:  In number seven, yes.

MR. MCALLISTER:  That's all I have to ask him.

THE CORONER:  Are there any other questions to ask this witness?  If not, Mr. Coates, you may be excused. WHEREUPON, said witness was excused.

CORONER HOLMES:  Do the Jurors know of any other witnesses they would like to have called to the stand in this matter?  If not, then I believe that covers all of the witnesses, and the Court will stand adjourned.
(12:23 o'clock.)

                                                   )  ss.                                           IN THE CORONER'S COURT,
COUNTY OF LINCOLN.         )                                                               Before E.W. Holmes, Coroner.

IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUEST of  J.H. Martin, Thomas Rankin, George Essman, John Kiddy, Isaac Roberts, Joe Wainwright Jr., K. Baba, George Womer, J.A. Walton, S. Kawase, Mat. Metsala, F. Miura, K. Kojima, I. Kozaki, E. Forsman, Nick Smith, T. Kanada, John Georges, Valeniro Faustino, Joe Motoh, Henry Citerio, Ettore Girardelli, John Savant, Eno Erikson, Matti Erikson, V. Coli, Joe Rollo, George Berta, John Sager, Jr., Louis Tinpano, John A. Zumbrunnen, Ffred Laddo, Paul Dujinik, John Castagno, John Crutkiski, Livio Cavacchi, Louis Andreatto, Joe Allego, Tony Broll, Juan Lopez, Frank Martinin, William Cappelli, A. Bebber, Frank Eynon, Pete Palmiro, Martin Fontino, S. Masaki, Louis Torressani, John Christian, Joe Kovics, Marion Pernice, A. Oyama, Joe Rodrigues, John W. Zumbrunnen, John Magnino, M. Hasodo, George Lupcho, August Jarvie, Oswaldo Dodrico, T. Haji, Andrew Lupcho Sr., Dagnenti Fortunato, Louis Roberts, Robert Truhillo, Hjalmar Metsala, C. Haji, H. Hobara, Mike Kusnirik, Frank T. Navarro, John Pieroni, S. Masuino Palaver, K. Itow, Carl Pellegrini, Felix Dodorico, Mark Magnino, Eino Kare, A. Menapace, Tom Sanchez, Henry DEsanti, S. Makami, A. Alec, K. Kawahara, Tony Vito, G. TAkasugi, K. Karino, C. Mendini, Valle Valeriano, J. Andreatoo, Paul Warhold and Thomas Roberts, DECEASED.

We, the undersigned jurors summoned to appear before E.W. Holmes, Coroner of the County of Lincoln and State of Wyoming on the 17th day of August, A.D. 1923, to diligently inquire and true presentment make as to the cause of death of the above named persons whose bodies lie here dead, having been duly sworn and impaneled according to law, and having made such inspection and requisition and hearing the testimony adduced, upon our oaths do find and return the following verdict:

AUGUST 14, 1923.

The explosion was cuased (sic) by gas in No. 7 room 30 Entry, same being ignited by fire boss when relighting his safety lamp, all victims of the explosion thereby meeting death.