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Doukhobors Request Return Of Their Leader, Peter Verigin, To Them.


Every Expert Tells Of Dry Cell Exhibited;>
Inquest Continues Today.

[ Peter V. Verigin and Anastasia Holobova, 1905, Unknown, UBC Special Collections 53-34 ]

After considering the evidence as heard for every hour, the jury sitting in the inquest over the four dead in the Kettle Valley explosion of Wednesday morning last adjourned until this morning at 11 o'clock. The jurymen, after considering all evidence, decided that there were other witnesses whom they would like to hear. Consequently, this morning two Hindus, and possibly other witnesses will be heard.


Staff Sergeant Ernest Gammon of the provincial police testified of his receiving word of the explosion at 7:30 a.m., on the morning of Wednesday last. He had heard of it from Mr. Griffiths, chief clerk in the local office. The police officer notified Coroner MacKenzie. He also got in touch with Constable Killian of Grand Forks, and Staff Sergeant Fraser of Greenwood.


Mr. Gammon went out on the special train to Farron, which left the city about 9:50 o'clock, he saw the remains of the first class coach. The steel structure was left. The wood-work was burned away. Going along the track he noticed the remains of the wreck on either side. On the south rail was a small pile of very fine debris, which he presumed had been blown through the car. Some of the splinters had been forced under the rail. There were no marks on the earth or ties there.

The police official exhibited a portion of the debris which he had gathered up. It was a pile of small splinters. Splinters were scattered all along the track. It seemed as though they had been forced from the floor of the coach.

Along the side of the track and on the south side he picked up a portion of a dry cell battery. It was about 20 feet up the bank. In the debris of the car he found another portion of a similar battery. He produced a portion of a battery which was examined by the jury. Mr. Gammon stated that he also found a clock near the wreck. It was out of the fire when he had located it. It had been previously referred to in press reports. There was something on a wheel inside which resembled a small piece of wire. It had not yet been examined by an expert.


The explosion occurred in the center of the car and that the force of the explosion was in the direction of the south. On the north side of the track were some willow trees. In there were pieces of clothing and portions of the car. He produced a piece of burned pajama which he had found in these trees. It seemed as though it had been set afire at the same time as had the explosion occurred.

The explosion had caught Peter Verigin on the left side. He produced a piece of a grip. It had been found 200 feet from where the explosion occurred. Leading from the coach to the grip could be seen pieces of burned leather, all were on the north side of the coach.

He did not know where the clock had first been found. It was late when he arrived there. It had been found in the fire and placed on the bank.

The clock was an ordinary alarm clock of Italian manufacture. It was not badly burned. The glass showed signs of having been melted.

W. M. Rutherford — If the clock was the cause of the explosion it would not have any glass left?

Chief Gammon — My opinion is that if the clock was the means of causing the explosion it would have been blown to pieces. The hands and everything are there. The glass is melted. Witness stated that in his opinion the heating pipes on the south side had been damaged more than else- where. These were the heating pipes over the gas tanks. There were small indentations on one gas tank.

By the debris he was of the opinion that the explosion occurred in the center of the car.


Campbell's body was found near there, according to what evidence he had hear. The Hindu's body had been found 60 or 70 feet from the explosion and on the south side of the car. His arm and head ad been blown off. His head was not yet found and the body had been terribly mutilated.

W. O. Miller stated that the Hindu's remains had been found about 80 or 90 feet up the hill. Campbell's body had been found attached to the car on the south side, just back of the tanks. He had seen both bodies.

Staff Sergeant Gammon stated that he had examined the gas piping, but none too closely. He knew little about the clock or the battery.


W. W. Bennett, an electrician in the city, was the first witness called last night. He examined the remains of a dry cell battery exhibited in the court room. It was, in his opinion, an ordinary No. 6 dry cell battery. The peculiar car was the connection for the adjoining cell as if it were used to make up a unit of three volts. The cap, he declared, made an extra large contact. Two dry cells, he thought, could fire off a detonator.

He was of the opinion that the battery made up in a two-cell form was a medical battery. The batteries were readily obtained, but not rigged up as the one in question was. The cell in question had been made up for a special purpose. The strip for connection was not, in his opinion, made at the same time as the battery had been made. The connection was made with tin or copper material. If it had been made in the factory copper connections would have been used.

Either the person making the new connection did not know his business or it was just a temporary job. The person who had done the work had known all about soldering. It was a perfect solder. He could not say what make the battery was. The connection as it was would reduce the spark intensity. Two cells would be capable of detonating dynamite. The cell could be carried as a medical cell. It might be possibly one cell of a five "Hot-Shot" battery.

Source: "Jury Visits Tragedy Scene; Views Coach," Nelson Daily News, November 4, 1924.

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