Conductor Keltz Statement


Q. Where were you employed at the time of the Johnstown flood?
A. I was employed by the Penna% Railroad Co. [sic]

Q. What were you doing?
A. I was conductor of Extra 1165.

Q. Where did you start from with your train?
A. Derry.

Q. And what time did you leave Derry?
A. I left Derry on the evening of the 30th. I don't remember the time; about six o'clock.

Q. What time did you get to Johnstown?
A. I got to Johnstown about 11 o'clock that night?

Q. Did you stay there any time or did you go on?
A. I was at Conemaugh about six hours.

Q. You went from Johnstown to Conemaugh, did you?
A. Yes, sir; and we went from thereto [sic] South Fork.

Q. What time did you arrive at South Fork?
A. We arrived at South Fork about eight o'clock in the morning.

Q. Were you put on siding there?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. What siding?
A. We were backed in there on the siding back of the tower. We only had four cars and the engine, and we backed in there. We were laying there for orders, and we laid there on the main track until Mail was due, and then we backed in out of the road of Mail Train.

Q. How far were you from the river bank?
A. About 15 feet from the river bank.

Q. Were you moved from there before the flood came down?
A. No, sir, we just staid there in that one place.

Q. Were you in the tower?
A. Yes, sir, I was in the tower.

Q. What, if anything, did you hear there about the danger of the dam going out?
A. I got two or three reports that it was liable to break any minute.

Q. Who did you get them from?
A. Mr. Wilson came in there and sent a message that the dam was running over.

Q. When was that?
A. I don't remember what time of day it was; and then in about an hour afterwards, he came back and said it was broke about eight feet from the top, and was running out of a hole as big as a barrel.

Q. Where were you when the flood came?
A. I was in the telegraph tower; I saw it coming;

Q. What did it look like to you?
A. It looked like a large hill rolling over and over; it seemed to me about a hundred feet high. When I saw it coming, it just appeared to be rolling over and over. The engineer and I started for the hill, and he looked around and his fireman was sitting on the engine, and he said "There's my fireman!" and I said, "Go and cut the engine off and run it ov er [sic] the bridge, and we started and cut the engine loose and ran it over the bridge.

Q. Were any of your crew lost?
A. Yes, sir, two brakemen lost.

Q. How did they happen to be drowned?
A. That is more than I can tell. They were in the cabin, I guess, at the time we cut the engine off and ran over the bridge.

Q. And the flood struck the cabin and four cars and carried them away?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. How many years have you been running on the road?
A. Eight years.

Q. Have you seen floods in the Conemaugh river before that?
A. No floods. I have seen high water, but no floods to amount to anything.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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