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Mine Disasters in
the United States


Northwestern Improvement
Rocky Fork Mine Fire

Red Lodge, Montana
June 7, 1906
No. Killed - 8



Rescuer Deaths

To suppress a fire which occurred in the Red Lodge mine, the fan was reversed, which reversed the air current supplying fresh air to the fighters in room 6.  This resulted in forcing the noxious gases onto the men fighting the fire in room 6.  Six men lost their lives from the crew fighting the fire in room 6, while two of the rescuers, Roy Carey and Joe Bracey, lost their lives in a vain attempt to rescue the men fighting the fire in room 6.


From the Google News Archives:  External Link
(news links open in a separate window)


Eight Are Killed In Mine
The Grand Rapids Tribune, Grand Rapids, WI
June 13, 1906

Anaconda, Mont. - One of the most serious accidents in the history of coal mining in Montana has occurred in the mines of the Northern Pacific at Rocky Fork, near Red Lodge, Carbon county.

Eight men are dead, all victims of the deadly white damp that filled the corridors of the mine after the fire which started Wednesday.  Their bodies have been recovered, but the story of the work of rescue parties is a tale of unexcelled bravery and heroic self-sacrifice.

Of the dead, two were members of one of the parties that entered the mine in the effort to reach the men known to be there.

The dead: Terrance Fleming, William Bailey, Mike Gabriage, Thomas Skelley, Al McFate, Matt Reikka, Roy Carey, Joe Bracey.  Carey and Bracey were of the rescue party.

As Bailey's body was brought up his aged mother, who was at the pit mouth, dropped dead from the shock.  J. Ralyard, and Thomas Atherton were taken out alive, but are in a critical condition.

The fire which caused the trouble started in incline No. 6 Wednesday.  This was believed to be under control, after a long, hard fight.  At 7:30 Thursday morning the rescue party started down No. 6 incline, proceeding cautiously, as it was found that there were still traces of the fire.  When they reached a depth of 1,200 feet all were overcome.  Seven managed to struggle back to where they could be reached.



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