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I Avoid Cremation

By Fred Boland, Machinist 1928-1980
Bayshore Shops, Southern Pacific Railroad

In 1931 during my apprentice years I was assigned to Louie Pardini for a while. He took care of steam air pump governors, locomotive boosters, an occasional defective air conditioner on a passenger car tied up at the old passenger car shop at 7th and Townsend, and many other jobs.

One day Louie and I were in the roundhouse correcting troubles on a booster on an old P1 Pacific type passenger engine of the early 2400 numbers. I have forgotten the number, but I believe it may have been the 2400 itself.

We were under the firebox where of course the booster was. It was a heavier job than rearranging the control pipes as we had a cover off. I heard someone tinkering with the fire, something no one should do if anyone was under that part of the engine. Suddenly I heard the hissing sounds that tell that a fire is out. Now when the fire is out the oil continues to flow in, being broken up into globules by the steam fed into it. When the fire catches again practically all that oil is ignited at once.

I shoved Louie aside, partly for his own good, and partly to get room for me to back out quickly. Louie was cussing and bawling me out, not knowing what was the matter with me. About then the fire caught. Whoom! A solid sheet of hot flame shot down where we had been and would have burned us for life.
Louie stopped and turned his ire to whoever was in the cab. It turned out to be Frank Malloy, our own supervisor!