"1895: A Butte Tragedy
On January 15, 1895, at 9:55 p.m., the firefighters at Butte Central Station were rushed to the Kenyon Connell Warehouse. This would be the team’s last call for all but three. Arriving on the scene, the men quickly began rolling out the hose and poking holes in the corrugated tin building. They were not aware that there was over 2000 lbs of dynamite inside. Soon the flames within made their way to the explosives, setting off an enormous blast that killed all but two of the men on the first responder team.
As bystanders and additional responders from the station gathered, the flames extended to surrounding warehouses which also contained large amounts of dynamite. The second explosion sent large pieces of shrapnel cutting through the crowds and tossing both men and equipment hundreds of feet. The blast was heard all the way from Belgrade where residents reported seeing a red glow over the mountain.
Nearly every building in Butte had broken windows; there was not enough glass in Montana to replace what was shattered. The catastrophe ended with 3 horses, 13 firefighters and over 45 civilians killed. The police chief was also lost to the blast. His loyal Newfoundland stayed with the body until the burial. Although many in the town tried to adopt the dog and give him a home, he always returned to the Cemetery where he eventually died on his master’s grave.