united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company Anthracite No. 4 Mine Explosion
Cerrillos, New Mexico
November 25, 1922
No. Killed – 7
Safety Lamps Caused Madrid Explosion Thinks Risdon
Santa Fe New Mexican
November 27, 1922
An explosion in the Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company's No. 4 mine at Madrid, which late Saturday resulted in the death of seven men and the injuring of 14 more, probably was caused by three Wolf safety lamps, in the opinion of State Mine Inspector W. W. Ridson, who arrived here today after a preliminary investigation of the disaster.
The dead are:
Alex Brown, foreman, 35
Roberto Barraras, 41
Florencio Martini, 48
George Alexander, 28
Gil Griego, 30
Jack O'Frye, 28
Andrew Klass, 52
The injured, who were taken to Albuquerque Hospitals, are all expected to recover. They are:
B. H. Self
Jose De Luz Campa
A. G. Armijo
"It was a gas explosion," Mr. Ridson said.
"They had discovered gas at different times in the mine, and as a matter of prevention the miners were provided with three Wolf safety lamps for use in the chamber where the explosion later occurred. They were instructed that if they saw any gas show up to come immediately out of the mine. These lamps, it appears, were hung up on props. They are safety lamps when properly handled, but if hung up and allowed to get very hot they will ignite gas."
Mr. Risdon said that the miners were working with a face 300 feet in length and were down probably a depth of 700 to 800 feet from the surface, and about a mile from the outside.
"There were no wires in the mine, and no electricity," said Mr. Ridson. "Moreover, no matches were found on the bodies of the miners. The men did their work by the light of the Edison safety lamps which each carries and which are furnished with storage batteries.
"There seems to be no other explanation of the explosion than that I have offered. The explosion was in only one chamber. Had it been due to spontaneous combustion it would have been a bigger disaster, in my opinion. As to the suggestion of dust causing the explosion, I take no stock in that theory. This was an anthracite mine and dust cannot be exploded in such a mine, although it is well known that anthracite coal dust can be exploded under certain conditions, say in a laboratory."
Only one part of the No. 1 mine, the anthracite mine, was affected a lateral 1,000 feet underground from the opening in the side of the mountain. Only the men working here were injured or killed.
As the injured were rushed to the surface by the volunteer rescue crew they were taken to a doctor's, a dentist's offices and a nearby home, which were hurriedly turned into hospitals. Women of Madrid worked as nurses with the aid of doctors and other volunteers. First aid was administered here, then the injured were placed in a box car, the only car available, and taken down the Madrid spur to Waldo, where it connects with the A. T. & S. F. line. Train No. 1 was flagged and the injured taken to Albuquerque, where they were placed in hospitals.
The injured were burned and in some cases their arms or legs broken.
The explosion was the worst at this camp since the White Ash mine disaster nearly 20 years ago, when nearly a score of men lost their lives.