Humble, TX Train Wreck, Dec 1922


Steam From Freight on Siding at Humble Station Injures Score Passengers.

Staff Special to The News
HOUSTON, Tex., Dec. 13 – When passenger train No. 28 on the Southern Pacific, bound for Shreveport, sideswiped a freight engine at Humble Station, seventeen miles north of here, at 10 o'clock tonight at least seven persons were scalded to death by superheated steam. More than a score of others were so badly injured that some of them will die. The survivors, all suffering terrible agonies, were brought back to hospitals in Houston tonight.

The accident was one of the most peculiar in American railroading. The passenger train was approaching the station at a moderate rate of speed. The freight engine was standing on a passing switch. When 200 yards away HARRY HOTTLE of Houston, engineer on No. 28, saw that the freight engine was standing only twenty feet from the switch and that it was too close to the passenger track. He threw on the brakes.

The passenger engine glided slowly past the freight engine in safety. So did the baggage car. But the steps of the first passenger car struck a beam on the freight engine. The beam was ripped away. As it broke it tore off one of the cylinders and also broke the steam pipe connecting the boiler with the cylinder.

IN an instant there was a terrific rush of high pressure superheated steam. It poured through an open window of the first passenger coach. The coach was in three compartments, but so swift was the inpour of the steam that few if any of the passengers in the three compartments succeeded in escaping. Some who fell or thew themselves on the floor of the car escaped with terrible burns. Those whom the steam caught standing died or were mortally hurt.
The train came to a quick stop. It had been moving so slowly that bystanders and ever persons in other cars on the train did not realize the tragedy until the screams of the dying and injured were heard. No one in any other coach of the train was injured except for a few minor bruises.

List of Dead and Injured.
The list of dead and injured as given at 2 o'clock this morning is:
Two or three other white men are believed dead. The remainder of the dead are negroes. A partial list of the dead and injured follows:

CONDUCTOR WILLIAM CAMPSEY, 3142 Roseland avenue, Houston.
M. CLARK, news agent, Houston.
EMMET ELBY, negro, Houston.
ROSIE SANDERS, negro, Humble.
HELEN JOHNSON, negro, Humble.

W. WILSON, Houston.
A. B. PICKARD, Houston.
W. A. BABERS, Lufkin.
S. B. LARUE, negro, Diboil, Tex.

Bodies Are Burned.
The rescuers were at first unable to enter the car on account of the steam. They were greeted by a terrible smell of burnt bodies. On the floor of the car were found pieces of flesh which had been literally scalded off victims. In one place was found the entire skin of a man, peeled off like a glove.

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