STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Vigo County Bicentennial: the train explosion heard around the world

Morris Ricketts has traveled around a lot of his life but he has spent a large chuck of it in Lewis Indiana. It seems like everybody knows everybody here, but they also remember where they were on that fateful night.

Posted: Jul. 18, 2018 6:33 PM

LEWIS, Ind. (WTHI)- Morris Ricketts has traveled around a lot of his life but he has spent a large chunk of it in Lewis Indiana. It seems like everybody knows everybody here, but they also remember where they were on that fateful night.

"He came into work about 9:30 I think and said that Lewis is on fire. It’s burning up. The whole town," said Ricketts describing how he first heard of the disaster taking place.

On March 28th in 1953 a Milwaukee ammunition train heading to Crane derailed on the north side of town. One of the box cars was full of black powder which would catch fire and explode.

Only ten of over one hundred houses in the town were livable. Thankfully no one lost their life in the event. But it still had many fearing for their lives.

"Well, I was scared to death because mom and dad’s house was right here and they had a store building over there. A little station and store," said Rickett.

News of the Lewis train explosion quickly spread across the nation in both magazines and newspapers, but because of this event as well. Many railroads had to change their regulations on how they transported certain items. Especially explosives.

"Well, this shut down the rail industry for a week or so until they could find out what happened and why. And so they could rewrite regulations,” said David Brown. Brown is the Pierson Township Trustee.

With this disaster came steps to be better prepared. Shortly after the explosion, the Pierson Township Volunteer Fire department was made.

"It gives me a good feeling knowing that people clear back then had the insight to get something going to protect the township, protect lives, protect property," said Brown.

Now only little remains of that infamous day but those who call this place homelike Rickett is just happy they all lived to tell about it.

"The town wasn't the same for a long time, a long time. It was just a miracle that nobody was killed," said Rickett.

If you'd like to see more history pieces celebrating Vigo County's Bicentennial check out all the stores done here.

Also if you have a history story in your township that hasn’t yet been covered email Garrett Brown at garrett.brown@wthitv.com.

Article Comments

Terre Haute
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Robinson
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 50°
Indianapolis
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Rockville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Casey
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Brazil
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Marshall
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
More rain tonight and tomorrow.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

VU Team

Image

Ask the Storm Team: Why is it warmer in Spring?

Image

Discovery Music Series

Image

Traveling Smithsonian exhibit stops in Marshall

Image

Catching county trash dumpers

Image

Sullivan Co home fire

Image

Sullivan Co semi fire

Image

Kids enjoy the start of Spring Break with Family Fun Night

Image

News 10 Sunday Morning Weather Update

Image

Saturday Night Weather Update

WTHI Events