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Statement of Train Baggageman Brennan

Statement of Train Baggageman Brennan, who was with Conductor Turner and Trainman Marquis on Train No. 11, ex Nelson October 28th:

There was nothing out of the usual occurred in any way between Nelson and Farron that I could see. I picked up three bundles of Doukhobor baggage at Tunnel and was told by man who put it in to put the stuff off at Columbia.

We arrived at Farron about on time. I assisted in picking up the cafe car there in the usual way and did not see anyone other than fellow employees. After completing switching I signaled for a brake test from West of baggage car and after test was completed I turned up retainers on the three head end cars - the cafe, baggage and express car - and was in baggage car when we pulled out about 24.55K. After we had proceeded a short distance, the conductor came into the baggage car, and right behind him Trainman Marquis. There was then an awful explosion, the end door of baggage car was blown in about fifteen feet and broken glass was flying. I got out of baggage car through the side door and then got up into coach to clear debris away in order to assist people that might be underneath. After assisting people at the west end of the coach I got off onto the ground on south side and assisted a man out through a window about three or four seats from the rear end of the coach. I then crossed over to the north side of car and helped a man out through the window there. I continued searching for other injured people. Immediately after the explosion the car appeared to burst into flame about the centre, the sides also being bulged out. I worked around with other members of the crew until all the injured were taken care of and on the way to Nelson and shortly after we proceeded to Midway with balance of our train. At the moment of the accident it occurred to me that perhaps the gas tanks under the day coach had in some way contributed to the explosion and I took the opportunity of specially examining the tanks before the burning car was cut off from the sleeper, and the tanks were then in position and intact, though the connections had been broken by force of the explosion and the gas escaped.

(Sgd.) Joseph Brennan

Nelson, 30th October, 1924

Source: Kootenay Museum Association, , , Joseph Brennan, Statement of Train Baggageman Brennan, October 30, 1924.

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