At 3:10 p.m. Oct. 22, 1913, a Wednesday, people in the coal-mining town of Dawson, 14 miles northeast of Cimarron, heard a sharp crack, like a high-powered rifle, followed by a prolonged muffled roar, and then they felt the earth vibrate and saw flames shoot 100 feet out of the entrance of the Stag Cañon Mine No. 2.

Fifteen dazed coal miners soon staggered from the entrance. Another 10 or so were found injured, but alive, near the entrance. But more than 200 remained unaccounted for.

Two members of “helmet crews,” or rescue teams, who entered the mine soon after the explosion were killed by debris falling from the mine’s ceilings. Those who emerged told grisly stories about what they had found inside.



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