Posted: Jun 8, 2013 4:12 PM by KXLF
Updated: Jun 8, 2013 7:05 PM
A fourth generation Butte man remembered his great-great grandfather this afternoon at a ceremony to honor the lives lost in the Granite Mountain "Spec" Fire of 1917.
Tom Gordon says his great-great grandfather, Con O'Neil was the highest ranking mine official to perish. He died trying to rescue fellow miners.
Gordon returns each year as a tribute to his grandmother who never met her father. O'Neil perished in the fire before she was born.
The Granite Mountain "Spec" Fire took 168 lives. On June 8, 1917 an electric cable was dropped into the mine in a tangled coil below the 2400 level. Later, an assistant foreman accidentally ignited the cable with his carbide lamp and the flame grew rapidly.
A memorial was dedicated to the miners in 1996. The Granite Mountain "Spec" Fire represents the greatest loss of life in metal mining history.