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Some One Illicitly Had It in the Passenger Coach


Fragments of Clothing in Trees; Bodies Hurled, Charred

"Upon thorough examination of the car it was found that the tanks referred to in some press dispatches were in no way in- jured, and were intact in their proper places on the car after the explosion occurred. This in- dicates that the explosion was caused by some agency inside the car entirely other than any part of the equipment."

This statement for publication was wired from Farron to the Daily News at 3:30 o'clock this morning, after the arrival there from Grand Forks of General Manager Murphy of Canadian Pacific railway western lines, Assistant General Superintendent C.A. Cotterell and Division Superintendent W.O. Miller.

Deaths of eight persons, two still unidentified, and injuries to a dozen others, were caused by the terrible explosion that at a few minutes after 1 o'clock yesterday morning almost blew to pieces the day coach on the westbound Kettle Valley train from Nelson, the explosion being followed by fire.

Instead of being an explosion of the illuminating gas tank of the coach as at first reported to the Canadian Pacific railway authorities at Nelson, it was conceded yester- day that a high explosive, illicitly within the car, by accident or by design caused the terrible catastrophe.

A railway car with only the wheels and steel framework left in- tact, fragments of clothing scatter- ed in the snow and even caught in the trees, the steel framework only of a suitcase found 200 feet from the wreck, with charred bits of leather leading directly from the car to the frame, are all that were left late yesterday, to tell of the terrible accident at Farron.

The bodies of the dead, and the injured, had been taken either to Grand Forks or Nelson, after being found at varying distance from the car. Those of John MacKie, M.P.P., and Peter Verigin were found according to Staff Sergt. E. Gammon of the provincial police, who visited Farron yesterday, about eight feet apart, over the bank, and about 45 feet from the car.

Thirty Doukhobors Visit Scene

When the special train which the Doukhobors had chartered yester- day morning to go from Nelson to Farron to bring Peter Verigin's body back to Brilliant reached the latter point shortly after noon, Staff Sergeant Gammon said, it was found that Dr. C.M. Kingston, coroner of Grand Forks, in whose jurisdiction the accident had occurred, was in charge of the bodies, and was taking them back to Grand Forks for the necessary inquest. On the train going out were Staff Sergeant E. Gammon of the provincial police, C.P.R. Constable E.J. House, Larion Verigin, nephew of Peter, Anton Strelaeff and about 25 other Douk- hobors.

Constable G.F. Killam, Grand Forks detachment if the provincial police, and Staff Sergt. J.A. Fraser of Greenwood, who had arrived by freight train, were also at Farron when the special arrived.

While the balance of the party went on to Grand Forks, with the bodies, Staff Sergeant Gammon and Constable House remained at Far- ron to search the wTeckage for some clue to the cause of the accident.

Perhaps a Bomb

"We know it must have been caused by a high explosive, but that is almost all we know so far," said Staff Sergeant Gammon, after he had come back to town on the Ket- tle Valley train last night. "It may have been a bomb in a grip, it may have been nitro-glycerin in some form, or it may have been a war trophy, which went off. And now so little is left of the car because it was burned to ashes that it will be very difficult to find out just what happened. But pieces of the car were blown 300 feet away."

Chief Gammon stated that W.O. Miller, divisional superintendent of the C.P.R., who had left Nelson on a special about 4:30 yesterday morn- ing, had been at Farron when he arrived there. Later, Mr. Miller went down with the bodies to Grand Forks, afterward returning to West Robson, where he met C. A. Cot- terell, assistant general superintend- ent for British Columbia, and C. Murphy, general superintendent for the western line. It is presumed they went back to Grand Forks last night.

The conductor and crew of the train of which the accident occurred stayed off at Grand Forks yester- day to give evidence at the in- quest.

Mr. Gammon stated that the wrecked car, which would ordinar- ily hold 75 persons, had only 21 occupants at the time of the acci- dent.

Source: "High Explosive Found Cause of TrainTragedy," Nelson Daily News, October 30, 1924.

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