Sand Point, IN Bluffton Interurban Train Wreck, Mar 1917

A.C. Thompson, Employe, Loses Life in A Collision on Bluffton Inter-Urban Line Near City

DEAD.
A.C. THOMPSON, Bluffton, burned to death.

INJURED.
GEORGE NORTH, section hand, compound fracture of the thigh and deep scalp wound. Condition of North is considered most serious of the survivors. Slight hopes are entertained for his recovery.

ROY SHIELDS, of Bluffton, conductor on the freight car. Internal injuries are feared and his head is hurt.

MIKE DRAGOON, 1702 Hoagland avenue, foreman of the section workmen. His left hand is broken and his body badly bruised. May be injured internally.

BILL WILLIAM KELLY, motorman on the freight car. Badly cut and bruised.

ALPHONSO BONDAUPS, section hand, hurt about the head.

FRANK PRILLA, section hand, Fort Wayne. Scratches, bruises and may be internal hurts.

As the result of a south-bound Bluffton interurban line at Sand Point, one mile west of the county farm at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, A.C. Thompson, motorman of Bluffton, was burned to death, and a dozen employes of the company suffered more or less serious injuries.

Thompson, who came to the city Wednesday morning, was dead-heading back, and was standing beside the stove. It upset, and held him pinned to the wall while he roasted alive. The freight car was heavily loaded, chiefly with bakery goods, and the whole interior was a mass of flames within a few minutes. Both cars were completely destroyed.

Occurs on Curve.
Sand Point, where the wreck occurred, is Stop No. 7, on the Bluffton road, and there is a slight curve at the place. Owing to this the work car had practically stopped, and the south bound freight was aid to have been running slowly. The cars came together within a few feet of the greenhouse of E.E. Neuenschwander, and although the trucks remained on the rails, the bodies of the cars were telescoped about three feet and were lifted from the wheels.

Conductor W.H. Kelly and Motorman Roy Shields, in charge of the freight, succeeded in getting out of the wreckage before the flames had spread to such an extent as to block the exits, and although painfully hurt did what they could to assist the dying man in the train.

On the work train many men, chiefly foreigners, were thrown to the floor and received painful although not serious injuries. Motorman W.D. North and Conductor Glenn Carr were in command of the work train.

Bring Injured to City.
Several of the injured trainmen and workmen were hurried to the city in automobiles that were near the scene of the accident, and a telephone call to the city brought chemical companies from engine houses 1 and 3 and Assistant Chief George Jasper and Lieut. Harry Grimme of the police department handled the bringing in of the injured in the police patrol.

The most seriously injured were brought to St. Joseph’s hospital, where physicians were awaiting them, and the workmen who were but slightly hurt remained at the scene until a special car arrived to bring them in.

Cars Burn Rapidly.
Twenty minutes after the crash both cars were blazing too fiercely to make any rescue work possible or to save any property. The first fire apparatus to arrive found itself unable to handle the situation and apparatus form N. 1 engine house was called. The cars are a total loss and none of the contents could be saved. The loss on rolling stock is estimated by officials of the company at about $15,000, and several thousand dollars worth of property aboard the cars was destroyed.

Firemen Get Body.
The north side or the freight car burned away almost before the chemical crew as able to get a line laid, and there under the stove firemen saw the blazing body of Thompson. Beating their way into the terrific heat in the midst of s spray from the nozzle, Captain John Stahlhut of No. 3 station and several of his men were able to reach the body with poles.

Continued