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Efforts at the Tunnel

Most accounts of the fire mention that the tunnel watchmen was apparently missing at the time of the fire.  The fire had been burning for quite some time before Johnny Bartholomew took his train through the blaze.  The attempts by the fire companies to put out the flames damaged the tunnel walls near the opening.  The Territorial Enterprise described the efforts at the tunnel:
"[At the southern portal an] immense boulder weighing nearly one hundred tons had fallen on the track completely closing up the mouth of the tunnel.  Mr. Sullivan having charge of a small gang of men succeeded in opening a cavity in the rear of the boulder, large enough to admit of the reception of eighty kegs of blasting powder.  To someone asking if he was not a little extravagant with his powder he replied that he intended to use a sufficient amount to obviate the necessity of moving the rock a second time.  About the middle of the afternoon a terrific blast was exploded, making a most magnificent spectacle.  The immense boulder was hurled across the track in an easterly direction and landed in the bottom of a canyon several hundred yards distant.  The blast did more execution than was probably intended, as it tore down a large amount of rock forming the arch of the tunnel."

Reader: Chris DeWitt

Photo Credit:
Nevada State Railroad Museum