Chicago, IL Elevated Train Fire, Dec 1956


Chicago, Illinois -- (AP) -- Fire swept into a morning rush-hour elevated train in Chicago, killing one person and injuring scores.
The flames spread panic among the 400 passengers jammed into four cars.
The fire burned across the first two cars before it was put out. Those cars were made of wood.
Authorities believe an explosion set off the blaze.
The motorman, 47-year-old DANIEL CULLEN, was killed. Officials believe he was electrocuted.
The passengers were in panic. Some broke windows to get out. Others pushed and shoved through the narrow aisles of the first two cars toward the rear.
The faces and hands of some riders were blackened. The clothes of some were smoldering.
The passengers who could ran from the scene along a narrow catwalk along the tracks.
Some of the injured just lay on the catwalk.
Many of the passengers who got to the street milled around in a state of shock.
A teenage boy and girl stood in the middle of a busy street "shaking all over" after their escape.
The train was moving into Chicago from the North Shore suburbs. Almost all of the injured were from the suburbs.
The fire apparently had started by the time the train reached the Howard Street Station marking the northern border of Chicago.
The train stopped a short disatance south of the station. The power was turned off in the accident area and other train traffic was snarled.
The elevated fire was the second major accident on the Chicago elevated system in a month and a day. On November 6th, two elevated trains crashed near the scene of today's accident. Eight were killed and nearly 200 injured in that accident.

Ruston Daily Leader Louisiana 1956-12-07