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Newspaper Page Text
pen, but that he pulled away from
her and ran down the stairs again. s
On Christmas eve the strikers and
their families had gathered in the
hall to forget the long and bitter war
waged between themand the mine
There were seven hundred persons
in the hall. The Christmas exercises
for the children were nearly conclud
ed. A bearded Santa Claus, burdened
with a huge pack of toys, had made
his appearance on the stage and the
distribution of the gifts was about to
Then a man thrust his head in the
front door and shrieked the word
that started the mad rush for the
stairway. Mrs. Caesar shouted a de
nial, but her words were drowned in
the cries of the panic stricken for
eigners. The stairway became jammed with
a mass of bodies. Little children of
five and six years were swept in front
of the panicky crowd and sent tum
bling down, their lives crushed out at
the bottom of the stairs when hun
dreds of others were piled down on
top of them.
A big man, mad with fear, his fists
doubled, fought his way over the
bodies of women and children to the
head of the stairway, but there he,
too, was unable to withstand the rush
and he was sent tumbling to death.
Mothers seized their children and
fought like maniacs in their rush for
the doorway. Men and girls tore and'
pushed at each other.
The more level headed attempted
to quell the riot with reassuring
words, but there are many languages
spoken in the copper country and
their efforts were misunderstood.
After the worst of the panic had
subsided, passing citizens tried to en
ter the building and were blocked by
the solid mass of bodies at the foot
of the stairway. So tightly were they
wedged in that it was necessary for
firemen to climb into the second
story windows and attack the pile
from the top. j
Ii sever.il instances, whole fami
lies were wiped out by the disaster.
Fifty-four families suffered the loss
of one or more members.
A mass meeting of the citizens was
held yesterday to devise ways and
means to take care of the victims
and assist the bereaved families.
President Moyer of the Western
Federation of Miners declared that
subscriptions from members of the
Citizens' Alliance were not wanted.
"I do not blame any member of the
Citizens' Alliance for what has hap
pened," Moyer said. "If such a
catastrophe had occurred among the
wives and children of members of the
Citizens' Alliance there would have
been mob rule and possibly lynchings
in the streets of Calumet."
Moyer said he would bring five wit
nesses before the coroner's jury who
would swear that the man who
sounded the alarm of fire wore a
Citizens' Alliance badge, but that he
would make no direct accusations.
The strike of the copper miners
has lasted several months, and has
been one of the most bitterly fought
The operators have employed gun
men with criminal records. Women
and children have been ridden down
in the streets as though they were
cattle by the militia.
The citizens have allied themselves
against the striking miners. The
miners have been restrained from
parading or from picketing. Strike
breakers have been employed In the
mines and the operators have refused
to arbitrate any of the strikers' dif
ferences. For-a little while this war was for
gotten by the strikers on Christmas
But they haven't forgotten it today.
And back of their rejections of any
aid save that which the Western
Federation of Miners can give them,
is the question:
"Who was responsible for that cry
of 'Fire' which resulted in seventy