Story - Boiler of a Grand Trunk Locomotive Exploded at Imlay City - 1908

Engineer Thomas Phibbs, of Battle Creek, Was Nearly Blown to Pieces

Fireman Wm. Brown Thrown Thirty Feet From The Train

One Dead and Two Injured - Engine is a Complete Wreck

Imlay City, Mich. June 22, 1908. - A Grand Trunk fast freight was wrecked two miles east of this town at 4 o'clock this morning. The boiler of the engine blew up while the train was going at about thirty miles an hour. The air brakes worked automatically stopping the train. Engineer Thomas Phibbs, of Battle Creek, was blown to bits. Fireman Wm. Brown, of Battle Creek, was thrown thirty feet from the train and probably fatally scalded. Head Brakeman Smith was seriously injured. Traffic was tied up for several hours.

Imlay City, Mich. June 22. The boiler of the locomotive on a special freight train from Port Huron exploded three miles east of this place at 2:40 o'clock this morning. It is believed the accident was caused by low water. The crown sheet of the boiler is badly burned and the rivets are literally melted. Thos. Phibbs, the engineer, was so badly scalded that he died soon after. He is survived by a wife and three children at Battle Creek.

Engineer Wm. Brown, of Battle Creek, was acting as a fireman. He was badly scalded, but will recover. He told a representative of The Times that he was thrown many feet in the air and distinctly remembered seeing the cars below him. He is a single man.

Brakeman Clarence Smith was scalded, but not severely.

The grass in the fields for six rods on either side of the wrecked locomotive was blasted by the steam.

Conductor Chas. Peacock, of Port Huron, escaped without injury, but was severely shaken up.

The locomotive is a complete wreck and pieces of iron were thrown on each side of the track for a distance of 300 feet. Two freight cars were also completely demolished.

The engine left the track, one half going one way and the other half the other.

A wrecking crew from Battle Creek has arrived and cleared the track. The Chicago train was held up for several hours.

A member of Phibbs' family said this ;morning that the remains of the dead ;man would be brought to Port Huron for burial.

Parts of Phibbs' body were found a rod away from the train. He was literally blown to pieces and so terribly scalded that he was dead within a moment or so after the accident.

[Times Herald, Port Huron-6/22/1906]