West Patterson, NY Freight Car Powder Explosion, Dec 1926

TERRIFIC POWDER BLAST INJURES 18 IN TRAIN PILE UP.

300 KEGS EXPLODE AT WEST PATTERSON, NEW YORK.

FIRE FOLLOWS DERAILMENT OF FREIGHT -- SHOCK OF EXPLOSION FELT 20 MILES AWAY -- TWO HOUSES DEMOLISHED, OTHERS DAMAGED-- PARTS OF FREIGHT CARS HURLED QUARTER MILE.

West Patterson, N. Y., Dec. 19 -- (AP) -- Explosion of 300 kegs of black powder in a car of a derailed freight train of the Central New England Railroad here shortly after noon today, injured at least eighteen persons, demolished two houses and damaged several, and hurled parts of freight cars and contents as far away as a quarter of a mile.
Four of the injured were trainmen, three of whom were seeking desperately to prevent fire which broke out immediately after the derailment from reaching the car containing the powder, when the explosion occurred. The other injured were residents of West Patterson.
The shock of the explosion, which came an hour at least after half of the cars of the train had piled up across the double tracks, was distinctly felt at Danbury, Conn., 18 miles away. There was some trace of it in Bridgeport, Conn., souheast of the wreck, and at Poughkeepsie, on the Hudson, according to reports which reached the Danbury offices of the Central New England.
The train was a New York, New Haven and Hartford, bound from Maybrock to Boston, being routed over the Central New England. Twelve cars in the middle of the train were derailed at 12:10 P.M., in such a way that a total of 25 cars were placed so that it was impossible to pull them out of danger after the fire broke out. The derailment was believed to have been the result of a broken axle.
The fire started apparently in the twenty second car, which contained linseed oil. Two local fire departments were called, but were unable to do anything because of the absence of water. Eleven cars at the head of the train were pulled out of danger and an engine, hastily summoned from Hopewell, N.Y., saved 13 cars at the rear. Efforts were still being made by trainmen and volunteers from the vicinity to get out the remaining cars when the flames reached the powder. The workers who had been on the lookout for the explosion, were either well away from the wreck or running to safety when it occurred.
Some of them were knocked down suffering lacerations and shock. Houses nearby were rocked. Two, the homes of Ward Rogers, 500 feet away, and that of James E. Towner, further away, were demolished. A stve in the Rogers house was hurled through a window, the fire still burning sometime after it landed upright in the yard. The house of Mrs Emily Peck, 1,000 feet away, suffered badly. Barns of the Rogers and Peck places were rent asunder.
The towns Baptist Church, about 1500 feet away, was damaged, stain glass windows being broken, and the interior wrecked. Many other farm-houses in the vicinity had windows broken.
The fields and highways within a radius of a quarter of a mile were showered with debris. Trees in a patch of woods on a hillside less than 200 feet away had the bark peeled off and the trunks left blackened.
The trainmen injured were:
Trainmaster H. A. CHRISTINGER, of Hopewell, N.Y., internal injuries.
Conductor C. H. LUNDIE, of Danbury, Conn., slight cuts and shock.
L. B. WIMMERS, brakeman, Hopewell, N.Y., shock.
Conductor J. J. SHIELDS, of Hartford, Conn., cuts and shock.
The list of residents of West Patterson injured, received at the railroad offices at Danbury, follows:
JOSEPH D. ROGERS, cuts and shock.
MINNIE B. COLE, shock.
S. D. RUNDELL, cuts about head and face.
LEONA RUNDELL cuts and shock.
MRS. S. D. RUNDELL, shock.
LOUIS ROBINSON, cuts about face and hands.
MRS. MABEL ROBINSON, cuts.
PETER O'HARA, cuts.
ANNA O'HARA, cuts about the face and arms.
MRS. C. B. PECK, cuts.
ALFRED O'HARA, cut about the head.
WARD C. ROGERS, cut about the head, face and arms.
LORAIN C. ROGERS, undetermined injuries.
MILDRED B. ROGERS, cuts and shock.

Daily Kenebec Journal Maine 1926-12-20