Miners and Mine Inspectors in 1930

On Sunday, April 13, 1930 miners and mine inspectors, grimy with coal dust, gathered at flatbed cars used to carry workers back and forth into the Carbonado mine.

Carbonado is located in the foothills of the Cascades, about 30 miles east of Tacoma. The day before a horrific gas explosion 1,500 feet underground, on the 2nd level of the mine, had killed 17 miners.

Although the cause was officially “unknown,” it was believed the explosion resulted from a heavily charged first blast, which detonated a second charge igniting ambient coal gas. Rescue workers were turned back by gas fumes for almost 2 hours following the blast.

They eventually reached the dead and injured miners, about a mile in from the mouth of the mine. Pictured from left to right are: John G. Schoning, U.S. Bureau of Mines; William R. Reese, chief state mine inspector for the State of Washington; Robert Simpson, Carbonado mine superintendent; H.A. Wilson, general manager of the Pacific Coast Coal Company; George T. Wake, deputy mine inspector.

Seated are Martin Hamlin and William Williams, safety representatives of the mine. This Richards Studio photo #G75.1-170 comes courtesy of Tacoma Public Library.