Lakesville, OH Train Wreck, Mar 1890


A Fatal Disaster on the Fort Wayne Railroad.

Three Lives Lost and $100,000 Worth of Property Destroyed.

A wreck that caused the death of three men and resulted in the destruction of property valued at $100,000 has occurred on the Pittsburg, Chicago and Fort Wayne Railroad, near Lakeville, Ohio. The names of the victims are: JOHN COWAN, engineer, Alliance, Ohio; HARVEY GALTHOUSE, fireman, Alliance, Ohio; and EDWARD MILLER, brakeman, Marshallville, Ohio.

Freight train No. 93 was running in several sections, and at Lakeville the third section broke a coupling, and the detached portion of the train, consisting of a dozen cars and three tank cars filled with gasoline, came to a stand. The conductor and brakeman of the third section said they at once started back to warn the the fourth section. They ran for half a mile, placing many torpedoes on the track. But the warning was not heeded and the train, running down grade at the rate of thirty miles an hour, crashed into the third section, ploughing half through the detached portion.
As the collision occurred the tank car exploded with a noise that could be heard for a mile away, and, the blazing gasoline spreading, the wrecked cars were soon enveloped in flames.

The three men who were killed were in the cab of the engine of the fourth section. Their bodies were burned to a crisp in the flames that raged for two hours. Oil and gasoline cars, gondolas loaded with coke and coal and boxcars filled with merchandise made up the trains, and all this mass was fuel for as fierce a fire as ever raged after a railroad wreck.

The flames rolled up for a quarter of a mile along the track, and night was changed into day. Awakened by the explosions of the tank cars and alarmed at the fierceness of the fire, farmers hurried to the scene of the wreck from every direction. No one could approach within a hundred yards of the burning mass, however, and the charred bodies of the victims were not taken out for several hours. So intense was the heat that the bell of the engine to section No. 4 melted and the metal was encrusted upon the boiler.

The rails for several hundred feet were all twisted out of shape and the ties burned.
The trainmen of section No. 3 say those of section No. 4 must have been asleep. It is believed, however, the warning was not as timely as these men claim.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1890-03-07