Field of Dreams
Headlines from the past
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 3:31 p.m. CST
The Putnam County Record, Granville, Illinois
Written by Darrell Alleman
This article was printed on Dec. 17, 1964, in the Putnam County Record.
The headline read “Man missing as railroad bridge burns.”
As the Record goes to press this morning, it is reported the New York Central river bridge northwest of Mark is on fire as the result of a river barge striking the pilings and exploding. Missing is Doro Tonioni of Standard, night bridge tender, who was trapped on the open bridge span which is burning. The Peru rescue squad was called ... Tonioni jumped into the river with the temperature at zero. The barge is reported to have been loaded with gasoline and oil. The Spring Valley Fire Department was at the scene but could do nothing with the fire in mid stream.”
On Dec. 24, 1964, the Putnam County Record had this article:
“A Memorial Mass held for Bridge Tender Doro Tonioni, 44, of Standard was held Monday morning in Sacred Heart Church with the Rev. William Carey officiating. Mr. Tonioni, the bridge tender on the New York Central Railroad bridge over the Illinois River east of DePue, died Thursday morning when struck by a barge loaded with petroleum products. The scraping of the barge against the bridge piling caused friction which ignited the fuel and set fire to the barge and center section of the bridge. Mr. Tonioni was in the bridge tender’s house atop the open center span. Tonioni was last seen by his relief man running into a wall of smoke and flames on the isolated span. Efforts of the Peru Rescue Squad and divers to locate the body has been unsuccessful. The huge clouds of smoke from the burning oil, barge and bridge could be seen in Granville all day. A Coast Guard fireboat from Peoria arrived late that night to extinguish the fire.
“Mr. Tonioni, a native of Standard, had been employed by the railroad 11 years. He was married to Lorraine Wright of Spring Valley. They have three daughters Nancy, Norma and Joanne. Mr. Tonioni’s body was discovered four months later in the Illinois River four miles downstream from DePue. In 1984, the then Con Rail road bridge was dismantled at the request of the United States Coast Guard.”
Darrell Alleman of Granville can be reached in care of this newspaper at Putnam County Record, P.O. Box 48, Granville, IL 61326.