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Archive for January 2nd, 2014

Father of 10 dies in cave-in

Victor, second to left, became a state-certified fire boss in 1932, having previously worked in the machine shop and workings at Mine 11, as well as being a miner at the nearby Indian and Cedar Mountain mines.

Victor, second to left, became a state-certified fire boss in 1932, having previously worked in the machine shop and workings at Mine 11, as well as being a miner at the nearby Indian and Cedar Mountain mines.

Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Summer 2012

By Frank Hammock

Those were the horrifying words in the title of a small article on page 1 of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that ushered in the new year of 1939.

Victor MalgariniVictor Malgarini, a miner who lived and worked in Black Diamond, knew the area well. From a conversation with his friend, Mr. Gattavara, who owned a store in Morganville, he decided to search for coal at Lake Sawyer.

In 1938, Victor—along with son, Victor Jr., and two companions, Walter Bartoluzzi and Jack Jones—started a new slope in a wooded area about 1,000 yards west of Lake Sawyer. The goal was to tap into the huge McKay coal deposits that lay underneath.

On January 2, 1939, this small group was working at the new slope, which was around 12 to 15 feet deep and dug into mostly sand and dirt. Because the new slope was still fairly shallow, it had not yet been shored up. It had also been raining that day and the ground was saturated. (more…)

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