Scofield Mine Disaster

The Scofield mine disaster occurred on 1 May 1900 when an explosion ripped through the Winter Quarters Number Four mine located west of Scofield.

Men working in the mine were killed outright by the explosion, which occurred when an excessive amount of coal dust ignited inside the mine. Other miners, working in the Number One mine which was connected to the Number Four mine, died from the deadly carbon monoxide gas or "afterdamp." Hearing the explosion, but not knowing where it occurred, the men in the Number One mine tried to exit by the shortest route--through the Number Four mine--and consequently encountered the deadly gas on their way out.

The official number of dead was listed at 200 as rescue units brought the victims from the tunnels. Since there was no record of who was working inside the mine at the time of the explosion, it was difficult to account for all the men. Miners and others estimated that the death toll was as high as 246. At 200 dead, the Scofield disaster was the most tragic coal mine disaster, in terms of the number killed, to that time in American history

The Scofield Mine disaster was a mining explosion that occurred at the Winter Quarters mine in 1900. The mine was located at 39°42′57″N 111°11′17″W near the town of Scofield, Utah. In terms of life lost it was the worst mining accident at that point in American history.

In the early morning of May 1, 1900, several hundred miners of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company of Carbon County left their homes in the town of Scofield to begin another day of work in the mines. Some were looking forward to the evening celebrations at Odd Fellows Hall where festivities would be held in honor of Admiral Dewey's 1898 defeat of the Spanish navy in the battle of Manila. Little did they know that the events of the day would culminate not in lively celebrations but in the death of 200 miners. It was the worst mine disaster in America to that time.

At 10:28 A.M. the No. 4 mine shaft unexpectedly exploded. Though the sound of the blast was heard in the nearby town, many residents thought at first that it came from fireworks set off early in celebration of Dewey Day. Those working closer to the mine were more wary of the noise. Mine superintendent T.J. Parmley quickly organized a rescue team to assess the damage.