Handley, TX Locomotive Boiler Explosion, Mar 1913


Three of Crew Thrown Fifty Feet Into Air.


Mass of Metal Picked Off Trucks and Hurled 130 Feet Distant


Head of Tom Cole Split Open.

J. T. Moore Suffers Broken Arm and Scalds.

Engineer Tom Cole of Marshall was killed, Fireman J. T. Moore of Fort Worth and Brakeman George Thomas of Marshall badly hurt when they were thrown fifty feet into the air by the explosion of the boiler of a Texas & Pacific freight engine at Handley at 8 o’clock Saturday morning.

The boiler was lifted clean from the trucks and after whirling over in the air struck the track again 130 feet in front of the engine pilot, driving a hole five feet deep into the ground. Parts of the boiler were scattered. The top of the sand dome was found 600 feet away in a field. The noise of the explosion was heard half a mile away.

The escape of Fireman Moore from death is almost miraculous. Carried into the air he escaped with a broken arm and scalds. Brakeman Thomas also had a narrow escape, the boiler flying over his head as he stood on the track in front of the engine. He is suffering principally from shock.

Laborer Injured.

Arthur Cooper of Sweetwater was also injured. He was crossing the railway track at the time to join a section force at work near by. He was struck by a flying fragment of the engine but was able to go to work a short time later.

No explanation of the accident could be given either by members of the crew who escaped nor witnesses, though a big gang of men was at work grading within a hundred yards of the spot. The first warning they had was the sound of the explosion.

N. Haas of Handley, who had just passed the engine, said the engine was then on the ground apparently oiling. He did not see the fireman. Brakeman Thomas, who is said to have been about twenty feet away walking toward the engine, was too weak to make a statement Saturday morning. So was Fireman Moore.

Cole’s Head Split.

Cole had either climbed back into the cab and was blown into the air with the engine or taken up by the suction, as his death was apparently due to the splitting of his head on a rail of the adjoining track, by which he was found.

Fireman Moore lay a short distance away. That the engineer was first blown into the air is indicated by the fact that though his head was split, a derby hat that he was wearing was not inured.

That Fireman Moore went into the air also was shown by his first queries a half hour after the accident. He was then apparently still dazed and surprised when told the engine had exploded.