Denver, Feb. 4. -- Twenty-five persons were injured today when the locomotive boiler of an empty Denver & Rio Grande Western passenger train was blown from its under-carriage in an explosion in the southwest industrial section of Denver.
The boiler and cab of the locomotive, being pushed backward into the Burnham railroad yards by another locomotive, arched 60 feet in the air over the pusher engine, crushed an empty railway express car behind it, and slid off beside the tracks.
Several of the injured were motorists who had stopped at thirteenth street and Osage avenue for the train to cross. None of the injured was reported in immediate danger.
George F. Dodge, an executive of the railway, said there is no question but that the water was low in the boiler of the engine" and added that this probably caused the explosion. The locomotive and tender weighted 573,000 pounds loaded
Force of the blast blew windows and bricks from the Western Eluterite Roofing Co. plant, located 25 feet from the tracks, and blew parked automobiles out of position.
Some members of a loading crew working on a track 50 feet away were injured.
Fireman Ray Shaffer,member of the first fire department rescue squad reaching the scene, said that "we found people wondering around over a whole square block, so dazed they didn't know what they were doing. We just put them in ambulances and automobiles and sent them to hospitals."
Several of the dazed victims asked the firemen, What's happened around here?" Shaffer said.
Frank Hobbs, an employe of the roofing company, described the explosion as "as earthquake and a powder plant explosion rolled into one."
"About four of us were in the office, joking and kidding before going to work," Hobbs related. "All of a sudden a terrific explosion knocked me backward. Some of the furniture flew around in the room and the walls seemed to jump."
"It was about 10 minutes before we could even see anything because of the dust and smoke and steam. The explosion just seemed to knock you backwards. Several men fell to their knees."
"When we could see, we ran outside. Cars were blown around the street. I was so dazed I couldn't even remember seeing any of the injured people."
The train was heading southward from the Denver union station to the D. & R. G. W. Burnham yards. The engine that exploded was one of the largest used by the railroad, and still had steam up after completing its run in from Salt Lake City.
Behind the large locomotive was another locomotive, two railway express cars and two empty passenger cars.
After landing atop the first railway express car, the locomotive boiler slid to the ground. One trainman was reported to have been burned from the second locomotive cab by the force of the explosion.
CHAUNCEY BABCOCK, piloting the second engine, said he noticed nothing amiss on the run from the Denver union station until the "terrific explosion" occurred. The train was proceeding very slowly so that a trainman could clear the switch into the Burnham yards for the "pick-up" train.
No one was in the railway express car crushed by the huge locomotive boiler.
The trucks of the large "mogal" type locomotive, used for heavy mountain pulls, remained on the tracks.
The force of the explosion damaged an automobile from which MISS IONE PUGH, 31, of Denver, was alighting. Although she was about 60 feet from the locomotive, she suffered severe burns.
LIST OF INJURED
CHAUNCEY BABCOCK, crew member, Denver.
GEORGE E. EHALT, 40, crew member, Denver.
W. H. WALTON, locomotive pilot, Denver.
MARTIN BRINK, crew member, Pueblo, Colo.
GEORGE HAWKINS, crew member, Denver.
PETE RODRIGUEZ, 35, loading crew member, Denver.
JOE ZARAGOZA, 52, loading crew member, Denver.
ALEC THEORONS, 60, loading crew member, Denver.
CANDALARIO GARCIA, 40, loading crew member, Denver.
CRUZ T. JUAREZ, 35, loading crew member, Denver.
MODESTO RAMIEREZ, 40, loading crew member, Denver.
IONE PUGH, 31, Denver.
JOE GALLARD, 22, Denver.
MIKE GAREELASO, 33, Denver.
GEORGE KARY OTIS, Denver.
PETE GALLEGOS, 40, Denver.
AUSTIN ONIBERA, 40, Denver.
FLOYD B. STEPHENSON, 55, Denver.
E. J. ROGERS, 42, Denver highway department employe.
ANGELO ANGULINO, 29, Denver.
PAUL TRUJILLO, 25, Denver.
ELMER ROCK, 26, Denver.
FREEMAN RICE, roofing company employe, Denver.
LAWRENCE MARTIN, railway employe, Denver.
C. L. CARBREY, 40 crew member, Denver
Greeley Tribune Feb. 4, 1941