SEVEN YEAR-OLD BOY
KILLED BY STREET CAR
Leonard Burnett Hurled by a Larger Boy in Front of the
DEATH RESULTS INSTANTANEOUSLY
Identity of Lad Who Pushed Young Burnett on the Track is Unknown
VICTIM WAS AN ONLY SON AND A FAVORITE
Little seven year-old
Leonard Burnett was ground to death beneath the wheels of a Spring
Street car yesterday as the result of another’s malice or
The little fellow was
standing at the Capitol Avenue crossing awaiting the passage of the car
when an older schoolmate sent him sprawling between the tracks not ten
feet in front of the approaching car by a push on the shoulder. Without
waiting to see the result of his almost criminal act, the older lad
scampered away apparently unconcerned.
Only those attendant at
the scene of the accident when the horrified mother and father came can
appreciate the paternal love and anguish felt for the child. The
mother, in her hysterical grief, clasped to her breast the mangled
remains of her only son, while the father stood helplessly by, stupefied
Young Burnett was of a
party of children returning from Edwards School, which was dismissed at
four o’clock. The details of the affair are best given in the story of
Motorman Thomas Drake, a veteran in the service, and whose car yesterday
caused the first loss of life or limb while under his control. Between
sighs and other evidences of undisguised grief at his home on East Adams
Street last night, he said.
“I saw the little
shaver standing near the curbing waiting for the car to pass, when I was
some distance away. His little companion stood upon the sidewalk. Just
when the car was within ten feet of the child, a lad about fourteen
years of age shoved him from behind. The little fellow fell face
downward on the tracks. It was too late to save him, but I managed to
stop the car before the rear wheels crossed the body. It was over in an
instant, but even in that time the boy who had caused the mischief was
gone. There were two passengers on the car, but neither of them saw the
affair. The parents came and their grief was pitiful to behold. The
wheels passed over the boy’s chest, causing instant death.”
WHAT BOY’S COMPANION SAYS
Russell Jones, son of
M. A. Jones, of 526 West Monroe Street, who has been an inseparable
companion of young Burnett, saw the affair, but did not know the boy who
shoved Burnett. The little Jones boy, who is also 7 years old, said
last night: “He hit me on the head with a book, and then threw Leonard
employed in the supply department of the State House, witnessed the
accident from the building. He saw a crowd of boys playing near the
street, but did not see who caused the accident.
Coroner Baer, officials
of the railway company, and friends of the family of the deceased
instituted a futile search for the unknown boy last night. The inquest
will be held today, at which it is believed some light may be thrown on
Leonard Burnett was the
only son of Mr. and Mrs. Will Burnett, of 511 West Capitol Avenue, and
is survived by his parents and four sisters, Misses Wilma, Myrtle, Pearl
and Grace Burnett, all at home. Mr. Burnett is employed by the Chicago
& Alton road at the pumping station at Virden, but makes his home in
Springfield. The family removed here from Waverly last June. Since the
family’s residence in Springfield, Leonard had been attending the
Edwards school. He was in the second grade and was unusually bright and
was a favorite among his playmates.
The funeral will be
held this afternoon at 3 o’clock, from the family residence. The Rev.
J. E. Lynn, pastor of the West Side Christian Church, will officiate.
The remains will be taken to Waverly Sunday morning at 7 o’clock, via
the C. P. & St. L. road, where the interment will be made.
Illinois State Register
– January 11, 1902
STEAM CHEST EXPLODES
Engineer Uffie Wieties Sustains
Badly Scalded and Has Desperate
Fight for His Life
Accident at the Street Railway Power House Cripples Car
chest on the principal engine in the power house of the Consolidated
Street Railway company burst yesterday afternoon with disastrous
effect. Uffie Wieties, engineer in charge at the time, was seriously
injured by escaping steam. The plant was badly damaged and traffic on
every car line in the city was suspended for an indefinite period.
happened at 1:30 o’clock. Only three men were at the plant. Jeff
Wieties, first engineer, was away at the time and his son and assistant,
Uffie Wieties, was in charge, with Richard Rogers and Ernest Boody,
firing the furnace in the boiler room. The firemen had just renewed
their fires when they heard a pounding of the big engine. They knew
something was wrong and started to investigate. A brick wall separates
the furnace and engine room and the men had just passed through the door
connecting the two rooms when the explosion occurred.
standing alongside the steam chest. When the thumping began he
immediately shut off the steam from the engine. His hand had barely
left the throttle when, with a sharp, crackling sound, the chest parted,
filling the room with escaping steam and boiling water.
for His Life
unfortunate man’s experience in the blinding steam and scalding water
was terrifying. The rushing steam burned him terribly about the head
and arms and he was unable to find his way from his perilous position.
The force of the steam turned him round and round, finally driving him
against the boxing that encases the big fly wheel. The door of the
boxing was open and Wieties narrowly escaped falling into the spokes of
the monster wheel, which was still revolving rapidly from the power that
had been operating it.
the situation when his hands encountered the wheel boxing, Wieties
mechanically closed the door and then, on hands and knees, groped his
way across the floor and over the connecting pipes of the engine to the
east wall of the room, where he located an exit and escaped from the
meantime Rogers and Boody had been active. Hardly had the accident
happened when the power house was filled with escaping steam. The men
made a rush for their imperiled companion but the burning steam and
scalding water warned them to retreat.
that he was already dead, the men ran back into the boiler room and
while Boody began drawing the fires from the furnaces Rogers ran out
through the alley entrance and around the side of the building to
attempt an entrance from that point. As he reached the east door of the
power house he encountered Wieties, who was just fleeing the building.
Presents Frightful Appearance
man presented a frightful appearance. He was blackened about the face
and body and wherever the skin had been exposed it was peeling off,
having been literally cooked by the steam and water.
A hurry call
was sent to the police station and Wieties was removed in the patrol
wagon to St. John’s hospital, where his injuries were dressed. Lotions
were applied to assuage the intense pain the man suffered and he was
soon swathed in bandages. Throughout the ordeal he did not lose
consciousness and a few hours after he was placed in the institution he
was able to converse with friends. It is expected that he will recover.
are used in the power house. Both are connected with the boilers by one
set of pipes. As a result, when the accident occurred and the piping
connecting the damaged engine with the boilers was torn down, all the
steam in the boilers escaped into the engine room. The firemen drew
their fires as quickly as possible, but it was some time after the
accident before the steam was got out of the place.
explosion happened all the power was forced upon the smaller engine and
the sudden strain caused the band on the fly-wheel of this engine to
break, leaving the system without a pound of power and stopping the
generation of electricity.
stoppage of currents through trolleys and rails, every street car in the
city “died” where it happened to be at the time. In this manner cars,
mostly with a number of passengers aboard, were left standing at points
all over the city. The sudden loss of power was inexplicable to the
motormen and conductors and it was some time after the accident that
they learned of the seriousness of the situation.
Later in the
afternoon all the cars were hauled into the sheds. In some instances
horses were employed to haul them while in other cases motormen and
conductors put their shoulders to the cars and trundled them into the
The cause of
the accident has not been determined. According to the firemen, only
ninety-two pounds of steam was carried at the time, while it is
customary to carry from ninety-five to one hundred pounds. The boilers
were inspected two weeks ago today, but no official examination of the
engine was made. The wrecked engine is of the Bates Corliss type, with
a capacity of 414 horse power. The secondary engine is of similar
design, but of only 227 horse power.
weeks past a force of workmen has been busy installing a new engine at
the plant. The new engine also is a Bates, much larger than the old
ones and of 800 horse power. Continued cold weather has prevented the
completion of the job before this time and it is expected that the new
engine will be in place within two weeks.
long the street car service will be suspended or crippled cannot be
determined. As soon as it was found what damage had resulted President
William Jarvis, who happened to be in the city from Louisville,
telephoned to St. Louis for a new belt to replace the broken one. This
belt will arrive today. It is believed that the damage to the
connecting pipes is not material and that the smaller engine can be made
ready for operation within a few hours.
engine, however, can furnish power to operate only eight or ten cars.
Consequently, even after it is in working in order, the service will be
badly crippled for a time. A machinist from the Bates engine works was
in the city, at work on the new engine, and he left in the afternoon for
Joliet, to secure a new steam chest and other necessary repairs for the
larger engine. It may be several days before the damaged engine is made
Illinois State Journal
– March 3, 1902