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Statement From F.W. Shaver


J.H. Broad, Prop.


"I am a mechanic residing in the City of Kelowna, B.C., I was on the C.P.R. train en route from Cranbrook to Penticton, I left Cranbrook about 12.15 p.m. October 28th, I was on the C.P.R. Train running from Nelson to Penticton, I left Nelson about 9.45 p.m. on October 28th, I remember passing Farron about midnight, I was then in the day coach. I saw Peter Verigin sitting with a woman on the left hand side of the coach, I was sitting on the rear end of the coach third seat up forward from the smoking compartment. About 3 to 5 minutes before the explosion took place, I left my seat and proceeded to the smoking compartment, but found I had no matches, I then proceeded the full length of the car to wake the News Agent who was asleep on a made up bed, he told me to help myself and pay him in the morning, I obtained some matches and then proceeded to the smoking compartment, after sitting down I noticed a cold draught, and went back to the seat in the day coach to obtain a sweater from my grip. While opening my grip I noticed a noise the nearest sound that I could express as to the noise, was that, similar to a toilet flushing. I then noticed an intense pressure coming on, which seemed to bear me to the floor, my first thought was that it was rocks piling on top of us, I thought if I could only straighten up it seemed to be impossible for me to do so, at that time I noticed three or four flashes - streaks of light coming from the top of the coach at an angle, the next thing was the explosion and a flash of fire, I put my hands up over my face the next thing I remember was the side of the car going out. I looked how to get off the side, the train was still going but the brakes were screeching, I looked up and saw the coach full of flames, and a man sitting a seat ahead of where I was and he was yelling for me to pull him out of the fire which was around his feet, I scrambled up to the main part of the car and pulled him off the seat, whilst doing I noticed a number of people in the car, I pulled him to one side and let him roll off onto the track. I was bleeding at the mouth and ears, and felt that I could not last out to render further assistance. I jumped off and ran into the sleeper, when I got inside the sleeper two men were just leaving their berths getting on to the floor, I yelled to them to get out and help, as people were burning up, they got up, there was no train crew up when I went into the sleeper. I was awake when the explosion took place, I was the first man able to move after the explosion, the bottom of the car was all in flames there was a strong smell of gas after the explosion. I did not notice a hole in the bottom of the car there was too much fire and I do not believe that it would be possible for anybody to notice if there was a hole in the bottom of the car as there was too much flame. The brakeman had turned off every other lamp about 10 minutes before the explosion I did not hear anything from the train crew as to what caused the explosion until after leaving Grand Forks, first the conductor thought that it was somebody carrying dynamite in a grip, I and the other passengers laughed at him, to think that dynamite would not also blow the bottom out of the car and damage the track, we heard nothing of a bomb being laid for Peter Veregin until nearing Midway. I only helped to get the one man out before I called for help. I am confidant after seeing several men gassed by automobiles and their actions and sensations were the same that I experienced before the explosion took place and that I took to be gas. I think that there was a leak in one of the main pipes (gas) of the car because it filled so quickly. The smoking compartment was practically intact except for the roof until the fire burnt it. The conductor took my name between Grand Forks and Midway but I was not called to give any evidence, after I arrived at Kelowna I sent a long Night Lettergram to Chief of Prov. Police Nelson asking him to examine all gas tanks and connections, to see if they were empty or loaded also that I was willing to give evidence as soon as I was able to travel.

Signed F W. Shaver. Witnessed:

A. G. Birch, Sgt.

P. Pentecost,
Prov. Constable.

Source: University of Victoria Archives, KCIR files, AR 051 1.14, F.W. Shaver, "Statement From F.W. Shaver," November 12, 1924.

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