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Blast Probe Starts 10 Men Injured Pass Towns Mourn - (15 MINERS DIE in 1967 mining explosion) The Free Press Turns 115 years Old

Irv Mitchell not going back to work  - The Free Press Files
Irv Mitchell not going back to work
— image credit: The Free Press Files

April 6 1967

Free Press Files

Department of Mines investigators are in their third day of trying to piece together the reasons for the explosion which Monday at about 4 p.m. ripped through the Michel Colliery’s Balmer North Mine, killing 15 men and injuring 10 others.

Within half an hour of the blast which sent a dense cloud of black smoke, dust and heat from the twin portals of the mine entrance, 12 men where known to have died instantly.

The cloud shot across the valley for a quarter mile.

The 13th miner, Walker Parker, 27 of Fernie died some hours later in Michel Hospital.

Missing until 6:30 a.m. Tuesday were Fuy Venzi 58, of Sparwood and Delfie Quarrin, 37, of Natal. Their scorched bodies, covered in mud and coal were brought from the mine just after dawn broke on the weary mine rescue teams and volunteers who had worked through the night in the futile rescue attempt.

Killed were

Ronald Freng, 31,

Walter Gibalski, 53,

Willie De Lorme 19

Guildo Venzi 58

August (Archie) Wotjula 42

William Cytko, 41

Sam Tolley, 53

Delfir Quarrin 37

Anthony Cepelianskes, 64

Eugene Lucky, 27

Eric Lutzke, 38

Mike Bryan, 64

John Brenner, 46

Walter Parker, 27

Hugh Hopley, 24

 

Injured were

Larry Savilo

Robert Brown

Gerry Clark

Earl Price

Art Parsons

Herb Parsons

Bill Corrigan

Robert Clegg

Pete Rotella

Irv Mitchell

For more great stories that ran in The Free Press in the past 115 years http://issuu.com/thefreepress/docs/115_the_free_press/1

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