Castle Gate Mine Disaster
The Castle Gate mine disaster occurred on March 8, 1924, in a coal mine near the town of Castle Gate, Utah (now dismantled), located approximately 90 miles (140 km) southeast of Salt Lake City.
All of the 171 men working in the mine were killed in the series of three violent explosions. One worker, the leader of the rescue crew, died from carbon monoxide inhalation while attempting to reach the victims shortly after the explosion.
On 8 March 1924, in the second major mine disaster of the twentieth century in the Utah coal fields, 172 men lost their lives, including one worker who inadvertently inhaled deadly carbon monoxide during the rescue efforts. At 8:00 A.M. two violent explosions ripped through the Number Two Mine of the Utah Fuel Company, located at Castle Gate in the canyon north of present-day Helper and Price, in Carbon County. The cause of the disaster was attributed to inadequate watering down of the coal dust from the previous shift's operations, as well as the use of open flames in the workers' headlamps. No workers in the mine survived the explosion; fatalities included 49 Greeks, 22 Italians, 8 Japanese, 7 English, 6 Austrians (Yugoslavs), 2 Scotch, 1 Belgian, and 76 Americans, including 2 African-Americans. The ethnic make-up of the victims of the disaster reflected the international character of Utah's mining industry.
On the morning of March 8, 1924, three explosions jarred the small mining community at Castle Gate. The blasts sent frightened women and children running toward the portal of Utah Fuel Company's No. 2 mines, located one mile east of the town.
The underground facility exploded with devastating violence when accumulated gas and coal dust ignited inside the No. 2 mine, touted as the company's "show case".
The first shattering blast occurred about 7,000 feet from the mine entrance, trapping over 100 miners in the underground shafts. It blew the steel doors off the entrance, tearing their hinges out of concrete and hurling them across the canyon where they were embedded in the mountainside. Heavy timbers from inside the mine were also thrown more than a mile across the canyon.
The disaster's three explosions and resulting afterdamp claimed the lives of 173 men, including one would-be rescuer. The youngest fatality was the 15 year old brother of another victim killed in the mining accident.
At 8:30 a.m., March 8, 1924, an explosion occurred in the Castle Gate No. 2 Mine, located about one half miles to the southeast of this site, instantly killing 171 miners. Rescue teams were rushed to Castle Gate from the surrounding mines.