Engineer Gettemy Statement

Q. Where were you empployed [sic] and in what capacity in May last?
A. I was employed as an engineer, running an engine between Conemaugh and Gallitzin.

Q. Where were you on the morning of Friday, the day the dam broke?
A. Laying on South Fork middle siding.

Q. What time did you reach there, and from what point?
A. Well, as near as I could tell, I think about 8 o'clock in the morning; somewhere about that time.

Q. And from what point did you come?
A. I came from Conemaugh.

Q. What time did you leave Conemaugh?
A. Ileft somewhere after 6 o'clock; I don't remember the exact time.

Q. In the morning?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, what was the condition of the water at that time? Was it out of its banks or not?
A. Some places it was out of the main channel, and other places, it wasn't.

Q. Well, itwas [sic] principally confined to its banks, w asn't [sic] it?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Wellnow [sic], what time did you reach South Fork , do you suppose
A. I judge I reached there along about 8 o'clock, or a little before.

Q. Where was your tra n [sic] paced? [sic]
A. On South Fork middle siding, laying about a trainlength [sic] from South Fork coal tipple, on,this [sic] side of South Fork.

Q. While you were at Conemaugh or after you got to South Fork, did you hear any reports about the South Fork dam being unsafe
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What did you hear?
A. As near an idea as I could give you, I was layingon [sic] the siding until about dinner time, and I told my fireman to go up and get his dinner; we didn't have anything to eat along with us; and after he got his and came down, I would go u and get mine. While he was gone, there w as [sic] a flagman, I believe off of No. 2, came down there to flag the track, and was on the engine with me, and he said the water was running over the dam at that time. So, he being there, and neither of us having anything to eat, I asked him to go up and bring us a lunch down, and he did, and when he came back, he said there was a man told him that the water was running over the dam, and there was a hole in the breast. He says, "I believe I will go up again" and I says "All right, look out for yourself." So he started and walked about four car-lengths when we looked up and saw the flood coming, and I hollow ed [sic] for everybody to get out of that, and hollowed for him to get back, and we got out; itwas [sic] about all we could do.

Q. What time of day was that?
A. The first time he went up there it was about 12 o'clock, and the next time, I think, was between 3 & 4 o'clock.

Q. What became of your engine?
A. Well, the train started down the river, engine and all.

Q. Was the train wrecked, or was it destroyed?
A. It was destroyed in one way, and in another way, it wasn't destroyed so very much. The cars weren't what you might call destroyed. The contents were of course damaged by the water and the cars were just lifted off their trucks and floated down the river. They went down a good piece, and when the water struck the viaduct, the swell brought them back and threw them right in where we were two or three hundred yards from the river bank. The water went back gradually then, and left them in there.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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South Fork, PA 15956

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