N&W in 1911--Electrocution

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Sun Jun 27 21:04:21 EDT 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 8, 1911

Fireman, Falling From Engine, Grabs Wire and Current Burns Flesh From His Hands
Peter Mall, employed at the Norfolk and Western division roundhouse as boiler washer, had a narrow escape from electrocution in the local yards yesterday, and was saved from a horrible death only by the prompt action of fellow employes in going to his rescue. While engaged at his duties on top of a locomotive he lost his balance and started to fall. Like a drowning man grasping at a straw, he grabbed hold of the first thing in reach and it happened to be something hard to get loose from, an electric light feed wire which held him fast while the current burned into the flesh of his hands. Quick as possible those who witnessed the accident and realized his peril turned off the current and he fell to the ground. The little finger of his right hand was burned entirely off and the palm and other fingers of the hand were badly scorched. The injured man was taken to his home on Tank Hill where his burns were dressed by a physician, but it will be several days before he is able to report for duty again.

[It's interesting how often injured people were treated in their homes by a physician in those days. It makes me wonder if the physician's scheduled patients were left sitting in the physician's waiting room while he was gone on an unexpected house call. If so they had to be, well, patient patients.]

Gordon Hamilton
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