They were family men, one an experienced hard-rock miner, the other a newcomer to a dangerous business who left a job in Colorado's oil patch so he could be close to his young family.
On Sunday morning, Nicholas Cappanno, 33, went into a section of the Revenue-Virginius mine in Ouray County where an explosive had recently been detonated. When he didn't come out, his shift foreman, Rick Williams, 59, went to find him.
They both died, overcome by lethal carbon monoxide the blast left behind.
Cappanno, who had been on the job for only about two weeks, "was my little brother," said Eric Keep, 36. "He was probably one of the funniest guys. The other guy (Williams) was his boss, and he died trying to save him. He is a hero."Williams "knew how to make the right decision, and he put others before himself," said his son, Nathan Williams, 25.
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