Copper Flat, NV Explosion, Aug 1907


Laborers Set Off 500 pounds of Black Powder in Single Blast.


Copper Flat Narrowly Escapes Heavy Loss of Life, and Property Loss Is Great.

An explosion occurred at Copper Flat last Thursday evening about 7 o'clock that just about wiped the entire camp off the face of the earth. Fortunately no one happened to be within the danger zone, and although the big boarding house and several other structures were shattered to splinters, not a person was injured.

A gang of Italians who were working on the railroad grade, were responsible for the disaster. They encountered a rather difficult section of the route, and in increasing the supply of powder, over-did it.

They placed 35 kegs of black powder in the embankment, but took the precaution to warn the people of the danger. Everybody took to the hills and waited the results. They arrived at their places of safety none too soon, as in short time an explosion such as old miners had never heard before, shook the air. When the smoke and dust had cleared away the boarding house was missing. A few boards here and there were the only indications that any such structure ever stood on the site. The same thing happened to a number of bunk houses. The roofs of several residences were crushed in and the entire camp looked as though a cyclone had struck it.

"It was the grandest sight I ever saw," said one of the witnesses, over the phone to a News representative "The smoke and dust ascended high into the air and the burning powder resembled the eruption of a great volcano. We watched the scene for a minute or longer and then as the smoke and dust began to clear it dawned upon us that the boarding house and several of the bunk houses had disappeared. We finally returned to the camp and picked up here and there a few remnants of the big structure. There wasn't hardly enough left to indicate that there had ever been a structure there. It is indeed fortunate that we were warned in time, because if we had not been several persons would have been killed."

The boarding house was 200 feet in length, and 35 feet wide. It was a wooden structure and was furnished for feeding large gangs of men. The pots, kettles and other cooking utensils were strewn in all directions. The loss has not been definitely stated, but is all of $2,000 and probably considerably more - White Pine News

Daily Nevada State Journal, Reno, NV 6 Aug 1907