Wildfire hero: train story: 1894

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Wildfire hero: train story: 1894 - absolutely a 11 to forests of all on had lift...
absolutely a 11 to forests of all on had lift lay and the to ; had off the and between caboose, the line the Grind-Btone To this a excavated fled "of beings, the Jlre as remained and and of flaxen-haired the but HEROES,-ALL OF Nothing Bnt the Unparalleled Bravery . of the Crevr Saves a Train -V- and Passengers FI10M BOASTING TO DEATH. After Saving the Train Engineer Boot Sinks Down Unconscious, in a Swamp. NOT ASKING FOR ATTENTION Though Horribly Burned Conductor Sullivan's Mind Unhinged by the Terrible Strain. I Du-. people .:, be- relief St. Paul, Sept. JS. -The limited passenger train from Duluth, bound for St. Paul, was caught in the fire near Hinckley Saturday afternoon and destroyed. " : Two hundred and ' fifty passengers were saved from horrible death by the bravery of Engineer James Root and bis fireman, John McGowan, who remained at their posts and sent the doomed train flying through walls of flame until a swamp or lake was reached, where the passengers . could find refuge. - " , The ill-fated train left Duluth at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon. .All the way down the smoke was so heavy that one could not see a hundred yards away, Daylight was shut out and the train proceeded slowly. People Became Weak From fright. Ten miles south of Carlton the .train was in darkness, The coaches were filled with smoke, and breathing came difficult. There vas no from it, and the men one by one grew frightened and weak. The passengers were gasping for breath, and the train men, realizing how serious the situation had become, passed through the coaches imploring all. to keep cool and offering -all the encouragement they could. It soon became apparent to all that they had little show for' their lives. The children began to cry and cling wildly to their mothers. The mothers sank to the floors of the coaches and offered up fervent prayers for deliverance from the flames. ' . " Rushing Into the Flames. The train was within a mile and a half of Hinckley when flagged by peo- from town. The fire was then advancing with railroad speed . towards the train. At first Engineer Boot thought of putting on all speed and rushing through the city, but an instant of. reason caused him to abandon the idea. The fire was coming with the speed of the wind, and such an effort would be worse than madness. The roar of the fire became more distinct, So the train crew hurried all the people on board and Engineer Boot sent llie train spinning back over the track at a rapid rate. The fire now became discernible. It was coming like a whirlwind and Boot could see that it was going - faster than the train. He increased the speed of the locomotive. It was no use. The fire had caught and surrounded the train. Bui Engineer Boot did not hesitate. He held the throttle open and sent the train faster . to the north, hoping to reach Skunk Lake before the cars and their loads of human beings burned. And he succeeded with the help of Fireman MoGowan, who .poured pail after pail of water from the tank over himself and the engineer, to keep their hodies from roasting. - ' Belief In the Swamp. At last the train reached Skunk lake, and the order was hastily passed through the coaches to abandon the train and fly to the swamp close ' by. . The train was on fire from the tender to the last coach. . The passengers fled to the swamps, to await death or relief. ' :: After he had saved so many people from being roasted alive. Engineer Boot sank down in the mud and water, asking for - no - attention, although his hands, feet, face, head and . arms were badly burned and his lungs were almost blistered by the fiery blast that he had A at people Robert out the of of hsui breathed so long. The entire train crew ! displayed heroic bravery all. tnrougn the fearful ordeal. - One of the sad circumstances was the fate of Conductor Jerry Sullivan, of the limited, who, when the. train reached ftfc-pnTg lake, did not stop at the swamp, but ran ahead on the track for the nearest telegraph station to telegraph for help. The excitement and strain through which he had passed had unhinged his mind, and hours' afterwards he was - found " wandering aimlessly about in a dazed condition. on

Clipped from
  1. The Chippewa Herald,
  2. 04 Sep 1894, Tue,
  3. Page 1

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