Kingsburg, CA Train And Oil Truck Collision, Feb 1947
Passengers leaped up in a panic in the combination coach-baggage car, two diners, a club car, a parlor car and eight coaches. Many broke windows and the fire raced inside, searing passengers, upholstery and luggage.
Within three minutes fire fighters from the adjacent Roma Winery were pouring water on the coaches, and Southern Pacific officials said their quick work undoubtedly limited the toll of dead and injured. City firemen soon joined the salvage action, but for several hours the train smouldered and smoked.
The truck's trailer tank was bent around the engine's nose in a U.
Soldiers in the last coach raced through sheets of flame to aid the trapped passengers. A bus driver ran from the parallel highway, smashed windows, and helped the injured to his bus. Red Cross workers from Kingsburg, Selma, and Fresno rushed to the scene with medical supplies, coffee, and food, and railroad rescue workers were called from throughout the Los Angeles to Oakland area.
The bodies of the dead were burned crisp. The injured suffered variously from broken bones and body burns as they fought or jumped clear of the coaches. Many who leaped from windows fell into flaming pools of oil along the roadbed.
Stagg, the grand old man of football, was returning to Stockton, where he recently resigned as head coach of College of the Pacific. Although he was unharmed, eight members of the 14-player San Francisco Shamrocks hockey team were hospitalized.
Dr. R. W. Binkley of Selma said two were burned so critically they might never play hockey again. The Shamrocks' game with Fresno last night was canceled.
After more than two yearas without a major rail disaster on California lines, the accident was Southern Pacific's second in 18 days within a 75-mile stretch of track. On January 17 the southbound Owl hit a broken rail at Lerdo. Eight persons were killed and more than 100 injured.
San Mateo Times California 1947-02-05