VICTIMS OF MINE EXPLOSION
AND BIG PRAIRIE FIRE HERE
Three Men Badly Burned by Accident at Dodge in Local Hospital
Escaping from a blazing coal mine only to kindle a prairie fire which swept over an area a mile square, and finally forced to leap into an ice-cold pond to save themselves, R.A. Norton, Paul Fritz, and Leo O'Brien, Dodge coal miners, reached the Bismarck hospital Friday afternoon with their faces and hands and portions of their bodies burned to a raw blister.
According to William Thurston, owner of the mine in which the men were employed, and Dr. E. T. Eade of Halliday, who accompanied the trio to Bismarck, the miners were engaged in testing some black powder by laying trains on the floor of a mine level when the powder communicated with a tin cask which had sprung a leak. The cask exploded, igniting a larger barrel of powder, and the blasting explosive was showered on the three men, who rushed from the mine tearing their burning garments from them as they ran.
Fritz was the first man to think of the pond, and he plunged in head-first. After he had obtained relief, he turned to the rescue of his frantic comrades, pitching O'Brien into the water, and then delivering Norton, who, rolling in the grass to extinguish the flames, had kindled a roaring prairie fire which pursued him and added new torments.
After the trio had saved themselves they were compelled to pitch in with others attracted to the scene by their cries and fight a prairie fire which quickly swept over an area 1 1-2 miles long and a mile wide. After the excitement was over, attention was given to the miners' burns, which were found so serious that it was decided to remove them to the hospital here. It is probable that skin-grafting whill be necessary in all of the cases, and that the men's faces will be badly scarred for life.
Bismarck Tribune, 11-24-1917