Statement of Fireman C.G. Munroe
Statement of Fireman C.G. Munroe, Engine 582, Train No. 11, ex. Nelson, October 28th, 1924.
We left Nelson a few minutes late and arrived Farron on time without any unusual incident; cleaned fire and took water, picked up cafe car at Farron in the usual manner, and left there about 24.52k.
About one mile west of Farron I heard an awful explosion, and looking back I saw a glare of fire and splinters of the coach flying. Train stopped almost immediately, and I believe was brought to a stop by the emergency brake setting back in the train. We ran about a car length and a half from time I heard explosion until we were stopped. I looked to see how the water was in glass on boiler and shut off injector, and ran back. When I got to the west end of the coach I saw there were two men standing there, and got in the head end and assisted the other trainmen to get people out. The first we assisted was a man and a woman, and seeing there were quite a few trainmen there I got out on the north side and proceeded to the back of the train, and as all the vestibules were closed I went to the head vestibule of the sleeper and pounded until the porter opened it and I entered there and went into the coach. Conductor Turner met me there and told me to go outside of the window and he would pass a man out, which he did, after that I re-entered the coach to give all the assistance I could with the others. By this time the fire was getting very hot and it was decided to move the burning car away from the sleeper, which was done, and it was pulled a short distance west, and then the baggage car was cut off and taken away from the burning car.
While I was going back alongside of the train I noticed a hole blown through the floor of the coach close to the centre of the car. The brake cylinder seemed to have been pressed down. I could see this very plainly by the fire that was burning all around it.
My first thought was that the explosion was caused by the gas tanks, and I got down especially to look under the car to see the condition of the gas tanks and found them in place and intact on the car, and could see nothing whatever wrong with them. I made this examination just before the burning car was cut away from the sleeper and I examined them again after the car was cut away from the sleeper just to confirm my first examination and still found them intact in every way. While I was in the car assisting to get people out, I distinctly heard a series of what occurred to me like small explosions, such as dynamite caps, or small cartridges going off. There would be two or three go off and then it would stop for a while and then one or two more go off. This continued for quite a while, and I should judge there was more than twelve of these minor explosions. I commented on this to other members of the crew, but as the explosions were nothing more or less than little pops we paid no more attention to them. I did figure they were either detonating caps, and then again it would seem that anything of this nature would have been exploded by the terrific explosion.
I could smell escaping gas, but I did not at any time observe any gas flame. After everything possible was done we proceeded west with our train to Midway.
(Sgd) C. G. Munroe.
Dated, Nelson, B.C. October 30th, 1924.