Originally published in The Tomahawk, Tehachapi, California, on Friday, Jan. 25, 1907
An explosion of giant powder at the entrance to the tunnel at the Mountain Summit Manufacturing Company’s works near Keene last Friday afternoon caused the death of George Dragsch, the shift foreman and painfully burned and bruised three other workmen.
Dr. VanVoorhees was summoned from here to atten the injured men and Deputy Coroner Mullins was notified.
The injured men were removed to Tehachapi for treatment and their wounds, though painful, are not of a serious nature.
The body of Dragsch was also brought to Tehachapi where an inquest was held Sunday morning.
Most of the testimony was in the Austrian language and interpretation was difficult. It appears that at the entrance to the tunnel there is an apartment where a stove had been set up and a fire kept burning near which to thaw out the powder for blasting.
At the time of the explosion about twenty sticks of powder were near the stove. Mr. Dragsch was the only person in the immediate vicinity of the powder.
The nearest workman was some thirty feet away and being busy at his own work, he could not tell what caused the explosion. It is supposed that Dragsch was capping fuse preparatory to loading a hole and that a cap became ignited.
As soon as the smoke cleared away the other workmen found Dragsch’ body some distance from where the stove had been and the three injured men a little further away.
The explosion is said to have been of terrific force and Dragsch was killed instantly. Besides fearful burns a small rock crushed his skull, penetrating the brain. One ear was torn away but otherwise the body and limbs were intact.
The coroner’s jury returned a verdict of death from accidental explosion of dynamite.
Although Dragsch has been employed in the vicinity of Tehachapi for several years very little is known of his previous life or family ties.
He was known here as an expert stone-mason and as an industrious and reliable man whose work commanded better than average wages.
Much surprise was felt at nothing of value being discovered among his effects. An attempt will be made to find his relatives and to discover if there are deposits anywhere to his credit.
The remains of the unfortunate man were taken charge of by the Tehachapi Lodge Knights of Pythias, of which he was a member, and interred at Garlock cemetery Monday with the funeral service of that order.
This transcription keeps the original spelling and punctuation for the sake of accuracy, although more paragraph breaks may be added to aid readers. When errors of fact, or the spelling of names of people or places are known, they will be noted here, as appropriate.
Index notes: Dragsch, Geo., VanVoorhees, Dr., Mullins, Coroner