In those days
a miner was given a 25-pound keg of powder for blasting. It was carried
to his work place. A pick was used to punch a hole in one end. Two to
three pounds of powder were then poured into a cartridge made from old newspaper. This was done by the light from their oil lamps burning
on their caps and quite often with a lighted pipe or cigarette in their
mouth. There was little or no ventilation either, if there was, it was
In time the burning
parts of the mine were extinguished and reopened. It produced coal for
another 28 years. There is still coal there but it is an inferior quality
and too deep to profitably mine. The superintendent of the mine (Parmely)
quickly blamed the Finns for the explosion but it was found later to
be poor management. Both the Finns and the Cornish miners were superstitious,
seeing ghosts. Weird and unexplainable sounds now plagued the mine.
Many miners quit and moved.