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Crown Point Register

From The Crown Point Register, Thursday, May 22, 1952

Train Crash At Lowell

Tank Cars With Alcohol Ignited In Conflagration: Monon Station Is Blasted.

Damage expected to exceed several hundred thousands of dollars was experienced early this Thursday morning when a fast-moving freight train on the Monon line at Lowell jacknived and came to an abrupt halt at the station.

Tank cars loaded with alcohol burst into flames, threatening the entire section of the town and completely demolishing the station.

Prompt action on the part of volunteer fire departments saved business structures which lined the track, including a frame building and two service stations. A number of gasoline storage tanks immediately south of the conflagration were also a source of danger.

Wrecking crews are now removing debris from the tracks which has blocked traffic on State Road 2 proceeding west from Lowell.

Cause of the wreck has not yet been definitely ascertained, but it is believed a broken wheel on one of the tank cars may have been the source of the accident. Sparks caused by flying steel were believed to have ignited the alcohol.

In addition to the loss of the station, 33 cars were damaged to a considerable extent, together with their cargo. Telegraph poles which lined the track were also broken off at ground level and communication lines tangled on the earth.

Fire Departments reporting to the conflaguation included, Crown Point, Lowell, Hebron, Gary, Scherriville, St. John, Schneider, Cedar Lake, Lake Dalecarlia and Hammond. Until the Gary Fire Department arrived, the other departments fought the blaze with water after which a foamite solution was used.

Lowell Police officials were having a difficult time endeavoring to control traffic and onlookers early this morning, but the thousands of persons who were on hand at noon today to snap pictures of the accident were behaving in an orderly fashion.


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