February 27, 2017 | Barb Carr

Remembering an Accident: Montana Coal and Iron Company

Two small communities in Montana were tragically touched by a mining accident this day in 1943.

smith-mine-disaster-sign

The Montana Coal and Mine Company employed most men living in Washoe and Bearcreek, Montana. There had never been any major accidents like the one that took place on February 27, 1943. That morning, a massive explosion in mine #3 occurred. It was so powerful that families in both local communities heard and felt it. As the supervisors tried to find the cause of the explosion, they couldn’t find anything. No exact root cause. No evidence to tie together to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Sadly, all they could do was inform the families of their losses and shut down for good. The final fatality count was 74 out of 77 miners. All but 3. It was the largest accident they had ever had.

It’s stories like these that we can learn from. How could they have investigated better to find the root cause? What kind of corrective actions could have been implemented to keep these sort of explosions of happening again?

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