LETTER from JAMES S. CLOSE
To the Editor;
Your article about retiring Oneonta Fire Chief Pidgeon notes his recounting to you his memories of the D&H Train Disaster of Feb. 12, 1974. You state, “…when a D&H train derailed at Emmons and one of the tankers exploded.”
In fact, seven tankers carrying LPG or propane exploded that day – I know, because I was there, and saw the whole thing unfold from start to finish, as a nearby resident.
I have followed the story closely over the years, and have endeavored in vain to correct a major factual error that the NTSB carried into its report that states that the derailment occurred around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
That is false – the derailment occurred between 12 noon and 12:30 p.m. that day, but the Daybook which the OFD maintained contained that error because an officer wrote it in several hours after the call actually came in – which is not the time of the accident.
Lazy investigators didn’t correct the error and it now goes forward in time as an inaccurate recollection of the events of that day.
I have interviewed surviving firemen on this issue, and have tried to have the record corrected for posterity – so far, to no avail.
You should, at least, correct this error for your readers.
On a related Oneonta Fire Department issue, it has been almost four years since Christopher’s Restaurant in Oneonta mysteriously burned down, and there are still no answers as to the cause.
Why not query the OFD and ask, “What gives?”
JAMES E. CLOSE