Were Blown To Eternity
January 28, 1892



A Sickening Disaster on the Philadelphia and Reading near St. Clair Yesterday—No One Left to Tell the Tale—Names of the Victims—A Similar Accident Within a Year on the Same Road.

Special Dispatch to The North American.

POTTSVILLE, Pa., Jan. 28.—By the explosion of a Reading Railroad locomotive near St. Clair, three miles above this place, five men were instantly killed this forenoon. Locomotive 956, one of the heaviest on the road, was pushing an empty coal train and had just left the St. Clair station for Frackville. Suddenly the whole country around about was startled by a terrific explosion which shook houses, broke windowpanes and scattered death and destruction in every direction. Investigation showed that the engine had blown up, but there was no one left to tell how it happened when the people rushed to the scene. The train had stopped and parts of the engine were scattered about a dismantled and twisted mass of machinery, and a number of cars were thrown off the track and broken.

Here and there were mangled human remains and the faces of men horribly burned and scalded, while several had limbs torn off. It is known that there were five men on the engine and tender, but only four have been found, and it is believed that the missing employee was blown into atoms. Parts of the engine were thrown 400 feet away. The rails were torn up and a hole two feet deep was scooped in the earth where the engine blew up. Pieces of flesh and bloody clothing were hanging to the cars. The dead are:

DAVID ZIEGLER, engineer.
JACOB TURNER, brakeman.
HENRY SANDS, brakeman.

These men were engaged in their duties and some were talking when they were carried out of this world without a moment's warning.

Fireman Paul's head was blown off and his body crushed. His remains were found in the creek, thirty feet away. Brakeman Turner was found 500 feet across the valley against the Pennsylvania Railroad embankment. His head was crushed and one of his legs torn off. Brakeman Wintergreen was hurled in the same direction, but with greater force and much higher in the air. It was several hours before his body was found, half way up the mountain, 400 feet above the creek. Ziegler and Sands were on the engineer's side, and they were thrown up the bank 200 feet, with the cab and fare box.

Trees were uprooted and debris lined the hillsides. The crown sheet and part of the boiler were hurled across the valley. The telegraph wires running along the railroad were cut by flying debris, and this then caused a fatal collision at New Boston Junction, above the scene of explosion, a few hours later.

A very thorough investigation will be made, as this is the second engine blown up on taht branch within the past year. Five men were killed in the other explosion, one which occurred near Frackville.

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair
The 1892 Morbid Scrapbook

Dreadful Sentiments...