Southern Pacific Locomotive 704 Boiler Explosion

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 18 Mar 1912 to 18 Mar 1912
Location: San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: disasters Texas explosions
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... ... ... Dedicated to those who died and the survivors of the Locomotive 704 Boiler Explosion on March 18, 1912

Southern Pacific Locomotive 704 - Boiler Explosion


The Explosion

On the morning of March 18, 1912, locomotive #704 was being fired up, having been out of service since an accident the previous December. Just before 9 a.m., the boiler exploded. Materials and people close to the boiler were incinerated. Pieces of the boiler, and of bodies, were thrown blocks away.
Estimates of the number of persons killed range from 26 - 40. The exact number is unknown, as some victims were incinerated at the blast, and only parts of the bodies of others were found.
Death certificates show the cause of death as "from explosion of an engine from some unknown cause." and secondary cause as "under consideration."

The Aftermath

The Victims

[Note: sometimes the names in the official records vary from the initial newspaper reports.]


Initial list: [1]

Brady, Raymond F. Age 25, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.
Bremer, William R. Machinist.
Brudy, J. Machinist. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Also listed as James Brundy, steamfitter.
Durbin, H. C. Machinist.
Grayson, W. M., negro.
Hoebler, W. O. Air machinist. Surname also listed as Hebler.
Jourdan, Walter. Engineer, age about 50. Surname also given as Jordan.
Mansker, B., Sr. Foreman, blacksmith shops.
Miller, J. R., of Orange, Texas.
Rees, W. F., Negro.
Roberts, Albert. Helper.
Shaw, E. R. injector machinist.
Valentine, James. Engine inspector.
Webber, Jacob. Machinist. Died at Santa Rosa hospital.

Additions, next day:[2]

Anderson, Frank. Machinist.
Brosch, William C. Pipefitter.
Cisko, Carl. Blacksmith.
Fuentes, Jose E. Painter.
Gorman, John Machinist.
Leddy, James J. Machinist.
May, Robert Kidd. Machinist's helper.
Miller, J. B. Pipefitter. Beaumont.
Montiel, A. Helper.
North, Grant. Negro. Pipefitter's helper.
Price, Archie. Negro. Pipefitter's helper. Luling, Texas.
Todd, Robert. Negro. Helper.

Others, not found in newspaper listings, identified through death certificates:

W. C. Galbreath.

In addition, on the afternoon of March 18, local funeral homes reported having the bodies of 15 unidentified men, and parts of more.


Initial list of injured taken to Santa Rosa infirmary:[3]

Alexandro, B. J., 212 South Railroad avenue, burn.
Bell, Howard (negro), injury to head and arm.
Burgin, B., 1232 Avenue D., compound fracture.
Carter, Otto, 1406 North Hackberry street, scalp wound, arm injured.
Colter, A., head injured.
Dilgardo, Art, 305 West Madras street, fractured spine.
Dilworth, Zedick, 208 Ord Street, injured on back and side.
Fant, James, 412 Duval street, compound fracture.
Foster, Willis, (negro), 602 James avenue, slight injuries.
Gentry, J. W., 328 Milam street, face and head injured.
Gomez, J., New Mexico alley, collar fractured.
Growntree, J. W., near Southern Pacific depot, head and throat injured.
Gruinn, B. J., 305 Tenth street, head injured.
Hampton, Wayne, 544 Walnut street, left shoulder bruised.
Haywood, Eckfood (colored), 648 Kentucky avenue, face injured.
Hockins, B. E., fractured leg.
Hunter, Lonnie, 212 Ord street, abrasion to back and slight injuries.
Hunter, S. (negro).
Johnson, M. A., 404 Milam street, head and back injured.
Leeder, Henry, 605 Mesquite street, slight injuries to foot.
Laddy, James, box car, head injured, leg fractured.
Lopez, G., 1305 Burleson street, wound on head.
Norwood, N. B., 1022 Howard street, right leg broken.
Oh, James, 305 Tenth street, bone broken in ankle.
Reinhardt, 1318 Hackberry street.
Roark, Thomas, 201 Canton street, right shoulder.
Santhes, John, near Southern Pacific depot, injury to back and arm.
Scoisth, Charles, injury to head.
Sheffield, Virgil, 129 Ralstead street, lacerated wounds.
Sprewer, A. (negro), hip and head injured.
Spruill, A., 531 Callahan avenue, slight injuries to left side and back.
Stafford, R. E., 1718 Hackberry street, scalp wound.
Thomas, William, 411 Mesquite street, seriously injured.
Verz, C., (negro), head, arm and side injured.
Wilson, George, 166 Brook street, hip injured.
Wilson, Ivy, back and head bruised.
Wilson, R. G., 324 Milam street, scalp wound.

Other injured:

Lipscomb, Robert. Foreman of the shops.[4]


Reported missing as of March 19:[5]

Hawkins, first name unknown. Machinist.
Newcomb, G. L. Machinist.


  1. San Antonio Light. March 18, 1912. Page 1.
  2. San Antonio Light. March 19, 1912. Page 1.
  3. San Antonio Light. March 18, 1912. Pages 1-2.
  4. The Waxahachie Daily Light. March 18, 1912, page 1.
  5. San Antonio Light. March 19, 1912. Page 1.


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