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Butte, Montana

St. Lawrence & Anaconda Mine Fire

November 22, 1889

A Fire at Butte.

San Francisco, Nov 22.
– A Examiner special from Butte, Montana, says: Fire caught this morning in the crosscut on the 500 foot level of the St. Lawrence mine and the draft is blowing it into the Anaconda workings. Great quantities of smoke are issuing from the Anaconda shaft. PATRICK MURPHY, HENRY PAGE, JERRY SULLIVAN and TIM KELBEN are known to be suffocated in the Anaconda. A man could not live two minutes in any part of the mine. The worst results are feared.

Butte, Mont., Nov. 23. – A fire caught this morning in a cross-cut on the five hundred foot level of the St. Lawrence mine and the miners who tried to drown out the flames were driven away by the heat and smoke. As the fire occurred between the change of shifts, only a few men were down. There was a quantity of powder in the lower level and , to save the mine from disaster by explosion, several men volunteered to move it. While engaged in doing this, four men named KELEBER, LYONS, MURPHY and PANE, were overcame by gas and smoke and perished. Other men went down to save them but had to leave them having a narrow escape themselves.

The fire communicated to the Anaconda mine from the St. Lawrence and the former is burning. It is timbered all the way from the 500 foot level up and the result of the burning of these timbers will be a cave-in of disastrous proportions. The latest report is that there are nine men unaccounted for and, if in the mine, they are undoubtedly dead by this time. The Anaconda mines constitute the greatest system of copper mines in the world and the capital is estimated at $20,000,000.

Butte, Mont., Nov. 24. – There were no new developments to-day in the mine fire. The shaft of the Anaconda is bulk-headed, likewise all the levels of the St. Lawrence. It is believed the carbonic acid gas, which will necessarily be generated in the confined space, will eventually put the fire out. Whether the fire has extended to the workings of the Anaconda or not, no one knows.

The number of lives lost is believed to be nine. Two men are missing.

But for Superintendent Carroll’s work with the co-operation of the miners in bulkheading [sic] the mines, the whole vast interior with its immense underground ramifications would soon cave in. As it is, no one can form the least conception of the extent of the damage, and it may be weeks before it is safe to open the mines again. The company has other mines besides these, so the smelter will not have to be closed down. The future intention of the company, however, is unknown.

Aspen Weekly, Aspen, CO 30 Nov 1889



Reno Evening Gazette, Reno NV 23 Nov 1889


The Mines Opened.

Special to the Journal.

Butte, Mont., Dec. 7. – The Anaconda and St. Lawrence mines, in which a great fire occurred two weeks ago, causing a loss of five or six lives, were opened to-day, having been hermetically closed since the fire. The miners are at work in the St. Lawrence mine removing the bulkheads between it and the Anaconda. The bodies will not be recovered before to-morrow or Monday.

Daily Nevada State Journal, Reno, NV 8 Dec 1889



The Anaconda Fire Fanned Into Life by the Opening of the Bulkheads.

Butte, Mont., Dec. 9. – At 1 o’clock a.m. smoke began to make its appearance in the shaft of the Anaconda mine, up which a draft had been coming ever since the bulkheads were opened in the 100 and 600 foot levels of the St. Lawrence mine. It soon became evident that the creating of a draft through the two mines had fanned the supposed extinguished fire into activity, and orders were given to close up the bulkheads again.

Mitchell Daily Republican, Mitchell SD 10 Dec 1889

Transcribed by Jenni Lanham.  Thank you, Jenni!


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