Sole Survivor: The 1869 Yellow Jacket Silver Mine Fire


April seventh eighteen, sixty, nine, the miners of gold hills yellow jacket mine said goodbye to their families and went to work like any other day. They had no idea that many of them wouldn't ever make it back home. Later that morning uncontrollable methane fire broke out at the minds eight hundred foot level collapsing timbers, and quickly spreading to neighbouring minds. The miners were trapped below with no chance for escape in what was probably the worst mining accident in Nevada history. Yeah. They used to have those methane lamps the did in the minds and they would go out if the methane levels got to a certain level and. Stuff like the candles. And Methane Cub Blam Yeah Oh. Yeah. I mean, I worry about that a lot too because I have a buddy. My best. But up in Idaho Jim Belton he works in a silver mine too and I always worry about them I. mean they have air blast it's. Very dangerous. I got nothing but mad respect for minors man yeah. It's hard work. Hammer Dangerous Oh. Yeah. Working deep any earth as a minor is a job with many hazards including poison gases, explosions collapses, floods, and fires to name a few. To minors like James Dunlavey, the risks were just part of the job. Dunlavey did not dwell on those dangers as he worked in the yellow jacket mine in Gold Hill Nevada, the mind and sister mineshafts were burrowed more than one thousand feet into the Earth as they extracted silver from the comstock lode. Each labyrinth of Mining Chamber was supported with heavy timbering in this tinderbox would minors lit their work with candles or lamps in the US blasting powder fractured the or for removal? The yellow jacket was a great silver producing property at the extreme southern end of the comstock lode. Nothing was more feared by gold and silver miners in a fire in a mine. As the pockets of or a cut away taken out cavities or chambers are created. The overhanging ledges of rocks are supported by Timbers to prevent the rock from caving following the tunnels are drifts reaching out for hundreds of feet in many directions from the shaft completely lined with beams and boards. Sometimes enormous cavities in a mine created by the removal of great pockets of or require eight, hundred and nine hundred thousand feet of timber that is. As Lot would yeah, it is. That's a that's a lot of flammable dangerous would had certainly is. Once again mad props because I have seen some of these things. You've seen it in movies I've seen it in real life. Yeah. It's some of these areas they are vast. Hoping for for your one hundred yards in some cases. And there's nothing supporting this rock, right? Right. I mean it's solid rock. It's holding together but man what is like caves but this is man made stuff see. So you know cave ins and stuff always dangerous. The shaft is face with heavy timbers links a deep and well-worked mind becomes a stupendous subterranean honeycomb of lumber. If a fire broke out any part of the lower levels of a deep mine, it would create a difficult situation for firefighters to get to any minors below level or beyond the point in the drift where fire occurs have little to no chance to survive. They are almost certainly killed before the fire reaches him by suffocation from gases or smoke that reached him I. Yep, and it Burns all the oxygen. Now, the chef exactly no suffocate drop them. It's bad. The comstock minds went down two to three thousand feet into the sides of Mount Davidson which increase the danger of fire would cause. So around eight am on Tuesday. April six, eighteen, sixty, nine. The nightshift miners were clocking out in the early days shift honors coming in. A careless minor perhaps tired from a long night or just excited to be heading home left a candle burning on a wall of timber. Some nine hundred feet deep in the mind which eventually set fire to supporting timbers food. The candle probably burned for hours and served as a life for the miners but having been left behind the flame eventually reached the pinewood on which it stood. The blaze started a chain reaction of disasters. Yeah. I bet it did Dunleavy who was working on the nine hundred foot level was alerted to the catastrophe when he heard the distinct crashing a falling rock. Debris tunnels forcing choking gases and dust into the yellow jacket in neighboring Kentucky Chefs. While running along the nine hundred foot level dunleavy spotted a wall of flame as he raced towards the main shaft, he gave the signal for fire, but the crackling of the Burn Pine Timbers was so loud that his warning shots were drowned out you. Dunleavy, remembered sending at the opening of the nine hundred foot level upon the yellow jacket shopped and heard the screams of minors on the levels below. Airport and from the Kentucky Mind acted like billows and fan configuration as it swept along the nine hundred and eight hundred foot levels and through the laterals to another neighboring mine. That is horrible. It's terrifying is. Horrible what a WAY TO GO TO UTAH? No, you would just. Yeesh the roof collapse around Dunleavy, and he began to choke on the fumes and dust he lay on the floor and pulled a heavy overcoat over himself. This act helped save his life. He was the sole survivor of the nine miners nine hundred foot level. He slipped into unconsciousness and did not wake until hours after he had been rescued

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