Shamokin, PA Train Wreck and Explosion, Aug 1896



A Freight Engineer and Conductor Lost Their Lives and a Car of Powder Was Ignited.

Shamokin, Pa., August 4. -- Two men were killed and another fatally injured in a disastrous freight wreck on the Philadelphia and Reading railroad six miles west of Shamokin this morning. To add to the horror of the disaster, the wreckage took fire from the dismantled locomotive and the explosion of a car load of powder, which was in the wreck, compelled the rescuers to keep at a safe distance.

The body of Engineer MICHAEL SMOCK was pinned in the wreck and was cremated within full view of the workmen. It could not be removed, as it was caught beneath the engine and fiercely burning debris. The victims are:
MICHAEL SMOCK, engineer, aged 35 years, of Tamaqua, killed in wreck and body cremated.
ALEXANDER SMITH, conductor, aged 45 years, of Tamaqua, crushed about the body; leaves a wife and several children.
JACOB DREISBACH, fireman, aged 33 years, married, of Tamaqua, badly scalded by escaping steam and burned about body; will die.

The wrecked train is known as No. 55, fast freight. It was running about forty miles an hour when it ran into a freight car door that had fallen across the track from a passing train. The engine jumped the track and twelve cars were piled within a space of fifty feet. A car of powder standing on Weldy's siding exploded soon after the wreck.

A fire engine and three hose carriages were sent from Shamokin to the scene of the accident and played on the flames.

Both the north and south bound tracks are blocked. The Reading express trains are being sent over the Northern Central railway.

Brooklyn Eagle New York 1896-08-04