N&W in 1910--Two accidents

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Dec 8 17:44:05 EST 2009

The second article included here was immediately below the first article in the same column.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
June 24, 1910

Flareback Causes Fireman to Jump From Engine Fracturing Skull

Yesterday afternoon a peculiar but serious accident occurred at Honaker tunnel which will no doubt result in the death of Firemen G. G. Etter.
He was fireman on an engine pulling Clinch extra west with Lee Hutchinson as engineer. Just as the train was entering the tunnel, and while Etter had the fire box open, there was a flare back and a sheet of flame flashed in the young man's face severely burning him. In as effort to avoid the flames or by reason of the pain the burns caused he either fell or jumped from the engine, and sustained a fracture of the skull and other serious bruises and curs.
He was brought to this city on No. 6 and taken to the Bluefield Sanatorium.
He is no doubt fatally injured and may succumb in a few hours.
Etter had been on the road about two years. His home is in the western section of the city near Graham.

[I wonder if the engineer abruptly shut off steam as the engine entered the tunnel, killing the draft through the firebox, at the same time that the motion of the engine entering the tunnel compressed the air in the tunnel, causing a high pressure in the exhaust stack, which forced air back into the firebox.]


Thrown From Horse to Railway Track and Train Passed Without Touching Him
Charles Harman was killed yesterday in a peculiar manner. He was riding along the railroad tracks between War and Rift and his horse got one of its feet wedged in between two cross ties. The horse began rearing and plunging to extricate itself and Harman tumbled from his back striking his head against a rail and rolled to the center of the track where he lay in an unconscious condition. A passenger train passed entirely over the spot where he was lying before it could be stopped. When the train crew and passengers ran back to where Harman was lying it was found that he train had not touched him. He died, however, in an hour from the injury received by falling against the rail.
Harman is from Tazewell county and leaves a wife and one child. He was twenty-five years of age.
[This is another accident that apparently happened because the railroad right-of-way provided the best path in a territory where there were few roads.]
Gordon Hamilton
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