Mount Vernon, NY Railroad Station Explosion and Fire, Jun 1900


Station Destroyed by Flames Which Follow, and Station Agent Injured.


There Automobiles Imperilled{sic} by the Fire, Hotel Keeper to the Rescue—Company Sends an Old Car to Do Duty at a Depot, Decorated with Chalk Sign Writing.

Mount Vernon, N. Y., June 4.—The station of the Harlem River branch of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad at Baychester, Borough fo the Bronx, was wrecked yesterday by an explosion which set it on fire, and the agent Edward Whitehead was carried out of the ruins very badly burned.

In some manner unexplained three barrels of gasoline which were in the freight rooms in the rear of the ticket office became ignited about 1 o’clock and exploded with a force that shook and exploded with a force that shook all of the buildings in the neighborhood. The gasoline was consigned to the Westchester Country Club for use in the launches and automobiles.

There were no passengers in the waiting room at the time of the explosion, but outside the station James M. Waterbury and his son Montague, and Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Van Horn Ellis of the Westchester Country Club, were sitting in their automobile awaiting a train. Fearing that the fire would ignite the naphtha in their machines the automobiles put on full power and hurried away from the burning building as quickly as possible.

Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Rauch, who keep the Park Hotel, directly across the street, heard the explosion. They ran across the street, and Rauch, finding the door of the ticket office locked, kicked it in. With the assistance of his wife the hotel keeper carried out the agent, who was lying on the floor unconscious, his clothes burning.

Rauch and his wife had their clothing badly burned while making the rescue. Whitehead was badly burned about the face, head and arms, and he was bleeding from wounds received by being hurt by the explosion. As soon as his wounds were temporarily treated, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis put him in their automobile and took him to Westchester, where he was afterward transferred to the Fordham Hospital.

The station was completely destroyed and trains were blocked for about half and hour. The Park Hotel was saved by the action of Patrolman George Regan of the Pelham Park squad. Patrolman Rogan and Roundsman Maher organized the fishermen and excursionists who were awaiting trains into a bucket brigade, which emptied all the water in the near-by wells and cisterns on the smoking hotel.

Late last evening the New haven company sent an old passenger car up to Baychester to be used as a temporary station. The name Baychester is written on the sides of the car with chalk.

New Haven Register, New Haven, CT 4 Jun 1900