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EXPLOSION IN THE COAL MINES
KILLS FROM 100 TO 150 MINERS
THE FERNIE DISASTER
Last Thursday night an explosion occurred in the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company's mines at Fernie which resulted in the death of from 150 to 175 miners. The magnitude of the disaster was so appalling that those living here in the same district were paralyzed when the terrible news was flashed across the wire.
At 7:30 that night nearly 200 men were labouring in No. 2 shaft of the mine, unmindful of the near approach of danger. Two minutes later a thunderous roar was heard, the mountains about Fernie trembled, and more than 150 human lives were snuffed out like the snuffing of a candle. There was no warning of danger; the first intimation was a silent but remorseless death. There was no opportunity for escape, no chance to fight for one's life, no time to plea for mercy or make peace with God. Death came quickly. There was no torture, either mental or physical, to the great majority. With picks in their grasp, or hands on their drills, the men dropped unconscious, and death came with the concussion or the after damp without a wail of sorrow or cry of pain.
But a disaster of that kind means sorrow and suffering for the living. It means many widows, many fatherless children, many homes bereft of their mainstay and support. And that is the case in Fernie today. There are few doors in the long rows of miners' cottages that are not darkened by folds of crepe, and few eyes in these homes that are not be-dimmed with tears shed for loved ones buried in the chaos and darkness of the wrecked tunnel.
And such a misfortune carries with it responsibilities that the people must not shirk. It brings to the surface the strongest feelings of humanity, and prompts all men to do what they can to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate. This is the time for all men to act. It is no time for selfishness, no time for parleying, no time for argument as to what or how much you should do. Do, and do at once. Give as the gods have given unto you. There are homes that are stricken, mothers who are destitute, children who will be starving. This is not time to look sorrowful and say "God pity them." This is the time to give one dollar or more for their aid. Every man in the district can give one dollar; many men can give more.
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