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Boston, MA Bomb Blast At Transit Station, June 1959

Aerial view of the blast area

POLICE RUSH TO MTA STATION AFTER PHONE CALL.

Boston, June 12 (AP) -- Squads of police rushed to the Green Street station of the Metropolitan Transit Authority today after an anonymous call at 8 a.m. said a bomb would go off there in 23 minutes.
At 8:30 -- a half-hour later -- police found no evidence of a bomb in the elevated railway station.
There are no lockers at Green street similar to the ones in the MTA elevated platform at the North Station where a bomb went off yesterday afternoon injuring 38 persons.
Traffic was not halted on the busy Forest Hills to Everett line while police investigated the telephoned scare.

Boston, June 12. (AP) -- Police today hunted a "mad bomber" in the wake of an explosion which shattered a Rapid Transit train station 30 feet above a busy Boston intersection yesterday.
Thirty-eight persons were injured, three seriously, in the blast which investigators said was caused by a home made bomb planted in a public coin locker.
High police officials said the bombing apparently was the work of a lunatic, bent of destruction.
A huge police detail under Capt. JOSEPH B. FALLON, head of the homicide squad, was assigned the job of learning his identity.
Police probing through the ruins found six dry-cell batteries near shome shattered fragments of the metal lockers.
They said the batteries were covered with a sulphide residue, indicating they were part of a bomb. Police said the bomb might have been activated by an oncoming train.
Two detectives said tests by police chemists of bits of the wreckage and parts of a smashed locker indicated a bag of powder weighing 20 to 25 pounds caused the explosion.
Investigators said the bomb went off with the explosive force of a 500-pound Air Force bomb of World War II.
The blast blew apart the big 58-year-old pagoda-type waiting room on the elevated station of the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority.
It caught several persons within the waiting room and on the outdoor station platform. Some of them were blown 30 feet to busy Canal and Causeway streets below.
Six were injured as they sat in a train approaching the station. The blast stopped the train 20 feet away. Only three seconds later the train would have been in direct line of the explosion.
Others were injured on the street below, by the terrific concussion and by flying debris.
Windows were broken in buildings as far as 150 feet away and as high as the 14th story.
Scene of the blast is directly across the street from the North Station railroad terminal which also houses the Boston Garden sports arena.
Eight hours after the explosion, the switchboard operator at North Station received an anonymous telephone call that a bomb had been placed in that 14-story structure.
The operator said the caller also said that the afternoon blast "was meant for McGINNIS." PATRICK B. McGINNIS is president of the Boston & Maine railroad.
A graphic account of the explosion was given by Patrolman MICHAEL MULLEN, 48, who was driving near the scene.
"It was terrific," he said. "I saw a big puff of smoke and a shower of debris shoot into the air. I saw a man hurled six feet into the air."
MULLEN stopped a bus in which five Marines were transporting nine prisoners from Boston to Portsmouth, N.H., and asked for help.
Two of the Marines -- Pfc. THEODORE LAQUERCIA, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Pfc. JAMES W. SCOTT, 20, of Bluefield, W. Va., joined MULLEN in clambering over the debris littered stairs to reach the injured.
SCOTT tore off some of his clothing to fashion tourniquets on the bleeding victims.
"We saw men and women buried under wood, glass and twisted metal," MULLEN said.
Because of the debris on the stairs, a truck with a hydraulic lift platform for working on overhead wires was pressed into service to lower the injured from the wrecked station.
Others were brought down fire ladders.
Police said there have been at least four warnings of secreted bombs at North Station within recent weeks.
They recalled the mad bomber who terrorized New York for 16 years. He had planted 33 bombs before police caught him in 1957.
State police chemists said pieces of the lockers in the ruins of the MTA station bore sulphide residue and other evidence of black powder.
Boston Police Detectives FRANCIS E. BAILEY and ROGER T. WHITE, JR., said early today that tests by police chemists of bits of wreckage and parts of a smashed locker indicated a bag of powder weighing 20 to 25 pounds caused the explosion.
The investigation was continuing.
By morning, all but 11 of the injured were released from hospitals.
Most seriously injured were JAMES T. BROWN, 42, of Dorchester, an MTA inspector who was on duty in the waiting room; DONALD KRASIEWSKI, 15, of Medford, and ABRAHAM ROBERTS, 81, of Somerville.
At least 200 persons in the general area of the blast were knocked down or dazed temporarily.
Two beams about four feet long were hurled through the air by the explosion and driven into the wall of an MTA switch house 150 feet away.
Police said they would question the injured to determine if any of them saw anyone place an object in one of the coin-operated metal lockers in the waiting room.
Nearly 200 men were put to work under floodlights to clear the debris during the night.
MTA authorities said the tracks and the elevated structure were not damaged.
Surface buses were used to carry passengers until service on the elevated system resumed today.
A disaster plan recently drawn up by police was put into effect almost as soon as the blast alarm was sounded.
The plan brought 175 uniformed policemen, all available detectives and dozens of ambulances from many parts of Greater Boston to the scene.
MTA authorities said they would not known the extent of monetary damage until later today.

Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1959-06-12

Comments

Pics

Hello Jack,
My kids great grandfather on their Dad's side is one of the people that was injured (James at Brown, 42). He llater died leaving a wife and 5 children. One of those children is their grandmother who was the oldest of the 5 and had to leave school to work to help support her family.
I may be interested in the photos!

Picture of bombing at Boston train sta, 1959

Hi,

I just saw your posting. My dad was one of the three Marines who went in and recued passengers, and is cited in this article. I would be interested in the pictures.

1959 North Station bombing at Causeway St.

I have some 50+ 8X10 original photos taken in and outside of the station right after the bombing, is there anyone out there interested in them?



article | by Dr. Radut