A Canton family was on the first line of emergency care as hundreds of commuter rail passengers made their way to help through their backyard.
Susan McCabe thought the thunderous bang that shook her neighborhood Tuesday was the sound of a plane crash. It was that loud, she said.
But within minutes, while she watched police and firefighters race through the yard of her Culloden Drive home, she realized it had come from the train tracks just 100 yards from her house.
McCabe and her son Joe, 13, joined the rescue effort, bringing water and ice to victims of the train accident that happened just before 5:20 p.m. when a look freight car rolled into a commuter train bound for Stoughton.
Many of the dozens of people injured, most with cuts, bad bruises and some broken bones, took refuge in the McCabe’s yard as they waited for medical help. .
“Some were bloody and bleeding,” McCabe said.
Men in suits, women in skirts, and 20-somethings with backpacks trudged from the tracks through McCabe’s backyard to Culloden Drive, which was turned into the first line of emergency care.
Ambulances drove through McCabe’s yard to a wide, mud-filled path as rescue workers struggled to reach victims.
A Mansfield man desperately searched for his wife who had called him from a borrowed cell phone to tell him she was OK, but likely had a broken wrist.
Emergency workers used the McCabe’s backyard as a triage area, and the usually quiet neighborhood was bathed in red and blue lights from scores of fire engines, police cars and ambulances.
Ambulances brought the more seriously injured people to Caritas Norwood Hospital, Milton Hospital and Caritas Good Samaritan in Brockton. And buses were sent to the Canton neighborhood to take less seriously injured people to the hospital.
Officials said none of the injuries was life-threatening. Witnesses and passengers said injuries ranged from broken noses, neck sprains and broken wrists to cuts on the face and concussions.
Joe McCabe, a student at St. John’s Catholic School, said at first he was frightened by the sight of so many injured people in his yard. But he was excited about going to school today.
“I’ve been getting tons of text messages,” McCabe said. “All my friends want to know what happened.”
L.E. Campenella may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.