South Boulder Canyon, CO Explosion At Dam Site, Aug 1951


Wondervu, Colo., Aug. 25. -- (AP) -- Lightning set off a dynamite charge at a dam construction site yesterday, killing nine men and injuring nine others.
Rescue workers finished today removing tons of rock and dirt that cascaded down on the working men when the dynamite exploded prematurely. Officials said there were no other casualties.
The death toll was raised to nine today when ROGER W. BURROWS, 27, (1805 Spruce) of Boulder, Colo., died of head and internal injuries at St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver.
The blast occurred at 1:49 p.m. (MST) at the site of a $12,000,000 project of the Denver water board on South Boulder creek, rocking the surrounding countryside.
T. L. McDonald, job superintendent for the Macco-Puget Sound Company, project contractors, said "as near as we can ascertain at this time there are only eight dead and approximately 10 injured."
He added, however, that two steamshovels were digging in the enormous pile of rock and debris, looking for additional bodies.
Boulder county undersheriff, Don Moore, identified the dead as:
BOB MADDOX, Arvada, Colo.
WARNER VICTORY, 39, Lincoln, Ark.
C. G. KIM, 37, Golden, Colo.
MAXWELL B. RICKETTS, 36, all of Boulder.
The injured were being treated in Boulder and Denver Hospitals. Several were reported in serious condition.
McDonald said "10 or 12" cases of dynamite were discharged by the lightning. Four men working on top of the canyon wall were killed almost instantly, he said. Four others, he added, died under a mass of rock that crashed down on the canyon floor.
"Between 50 and 60 men were in the immediate area at the time of the blast," McDonald said.
Approximately 250 men are employed on the project between Eldorado Springs and Pinecliff, six miles into the front range of the Rockies.
Rock walls of the canyon rise to a height of 365 feet on both sides of South Boulder Creek. At the crest of the canyon walls it is 750 feet across.
At the time of the blast the men were loading powder in holes that had been drilled on both sides of the canyon from bottom to top. Lightning apparently struck on both sides, setting off dynamite charges about 60 feet from the canyon floor.
NOBLE L. BENSON, 29, of Nampa, Idaho, operator of a heavy earthmoving machine, said "there was a roar that sounded like thunder" as the dynamite was touched off. Both sides of the canyon caved in." NOBLE'S heavy equipent was covered by debris but, he escaped serious injury.

Injured Are Listed.
Boulder, Aug. 25 -- (AP) -- Those injured yesterday in a dynamite explosion at a dam site in South Boulder Creek canyon:
CHARLES GERIN, 56, Phoenix, Ariz., crushed chest, possible skull fracture, broken wrist and cuts. His left leg was amputated.
LEROY CHASSERT, 25, Boulder, broken right leg, cuts and shock.
NOBLE RENSON, 29, Nampa, Idaho, released from a hospital after treatment of cuts and bruises.
JOHN ZEREN, 31, Boulder, shock and bruises.
JACK W. RAY, 28, Los Angeles, fractured pelvis and leg.
ROBERT GREER, 25, Boulder, skull and arm fractures and cuts.
HARRY ARTEMIS, 21, Golden, both legs broken.
MAURICE HENRIKSEN, 40, Denver, broken arm.
W. L. MUSGROVE, 43, South Boulder Canyon, cuts, bruises and possible internal injuries.
All but the first three were taken to Denver hospitals.
GERIN, who was in critical condition, was reported this morning to be "holding his own" at Community Hospital in Boulder.
CHASSERT, brother of GILBERT CHASSERT who was killed, was reported critical but somewhat improved today. The injured man is suffering from a fractured pelvis, possible skull fracture and back injuries.

Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1951-08-25