As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, we’ve digitized a small selection of inquests and inquiries from 1872 to 1934, found in series GR-0431. These were chosen to reflect the experiences of early Chinese immigrants to B.C. – their living and working conditions, and their unfortunate accidental or unusual deaths. They range from a woman working in a brothel in Barkerville who died of natural causes to three sawmill workers who died from malnutrition. Learn more.
*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person.
*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.
Q: Were pit lamps used in any other portion of the mine? A: In No. 4 Incline, naked lights were used. Q: What was the condition of the mine the day of the explosion, wet or dry? A: It was wet around that section. Mr. Pooley:- Are both those lamps "A" and "C" locked? or were locked when found? A: They were both locked when found. Q: Was that hole in the roof that was referred to by Mr. Potts, there before or after the explosion? Was that big hole there before or after the explosion? A: Well, the one that he mentioned about the gas being in, and reported in the report book, was there before the explosion. Q: How big a hole was that? A: Probably about four feet wide and may be two and a half to 3 feet high. Q: In a dangerous place? A: No. Q: The roof after the explosion was about 25 feet high? A: Yes, but not in the same place. Mr. Hall:- Were those 7 Chinese burnt sometime ago, burnt on this same level? A: What do you mean about "some time ago"? Q: About six months ago? A: I couldn't tell. Mr. Matthews:- The were burnt on the north side. Mr. Hall:- Are you altogether sure that that hole was four feet wide? A: It is there to-day to be seen, and it is no higher now than it was the. Q: Don't you think the crack extended quite a distance above that? A: That I couldn't tell. Q: You could see it was larger? A: I couldn't say. If that cave was broke further up or not, it is a very shaly roof, and the slips may be in this direction. Q: It might be larger and you not know it? A: Yes. Q: About this exhibit "A". I think you said something like this, that that lamp in your opinion would have caused the explosion if there had been a volume of gas there? A: I said if the glass of that lamp had been broken before the accumulation of gas took place, then in my opinion that would have caused the explosion. I don't think it did cause it, although there was that likelihood that it would. Q: You don't say that that lamp did cause the explosion? A: I don't, but it might have done it. Q: How do you account for this Exhibit "A" being separated from the other part of the lamp? A: When we found that lamp first of all the other part if the lamp was there beside it. To-day it is not there, and where it is I can't tell you. Q: Would the man who had these lamps in charge give us any information with regard to that lamp, whether it went into the mine separately or apart? A: It never went down the mine like that; that's a certainty. By a Juror:- What is the usual procedure when gas is reported in a mine, the same as it is in that book? A: The usual procedure is, if the men are working with naked lights, they are given safety lamps. The fireman, when there is gas in a place where a man is working, doesn't fire any shots in that place, but tells the man to get out the coal with a pick. There has been times since I came on when shooting has been stopped and the men allowed extra yardage for taking the coal out with pick and wedge. Q: Is it contrary to the Act to have a naked light in the traveling way? A: No, I don't think so. Q: Is it customary for the Chinamen to take matches in there? A: The law says they should not.
BC Archives GR-0431 Box 6 File 3
BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.