Chattaroy, WA Train Wreck, Nov 1910

Milan, WA Train Wreck, Nov 1910

Then showed the freak of the whole wreck. Behind the string of apple cars came shingles, oats and lighter materials. The foremost car of the lighter section shot into the air over the roof of the heavily loaded fruit car in front of it and upon to the bank, 15 feet clear.

The wreck of the "451" was even more pitiable. The jam of these lighter cars, perhaps moving at at bit higher rate of speed, against the checked engine and tender, produced a mass of wreckage that was indescribable because it almost immediately caught fire. Several cars of paints and oils added to the flames and for 12 hours, it was a seething furnace, the funeral pyre of the hapless Glass, Keefe and McIntyre.

It was next to impossible to check the ravages of the flames from this side of the wreck. In part, their fury was allayed by a stream of water, which played intermittently from the tender of H. E. Webster's engine, heading the second section of No. 451. Webster would run his engine back and forth from Milan to be filled from the water tank there and emptied on the flames from a hose borrowed form the big lumber mill at Milan.

Oregonian, Portland, OR 7 Nov 1910



Washington Railroad Commission to Investigate Wreck.

OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 15. -- (Special) -- Not satisfied with the report turned in on the Great Northern freight wreck at Chatteroy, in which eight lives were lost and the blame placed on the dead conductor of the westbound train, the Railroad Commission today announced that it would conduct a further investigation.

From the report it is gathered that Conductor Keith, now dead, and Operator Larkin at Camden, both failed to catch the import of the second order received while Keith was in the station at Camden. Both thought it gave the westbound train the right of way to Hillyard, when it announced there was a second special train to be passed there and did not supersede the order to pass the first special at Milan.

The report gave the commission its clew, as the conductor of the second section of Keith's train testified that he refused to proceed when handed the order to pass train 1214 at Hillyard, saying he wanted clearance for train 1145.

The order to pass the latter at Milan was found among the papers on the desk, and Operator Larkin, upon learning that the first section had passed Milan, ordered out the wrecking crew. The commission is opposed to blaming dead men and wants to place the responsibility where it belongs.

Oregonian, Portland, OR  17 Nov 1910