Miracle on Railroad Street revisited - the quest to say thanks

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 18:04 PM.

Tampakov, on the side of the rails, was knocked clear of the train after being struck in the jaw by the step assembly. Alvelo, though, disappeared below the train as the two locomotives eventually screeched to a stop. Rescuers found the toddler unconscious under the rear axle of the second locomotive.

“My mom said that she was so afraid that I had passed away because I wasn’t moving,” Alvelo said. “She was too afraid to come underneath the thing to come and get me. I can’t remember who it was that went under and scooped me out, but I was still breathing. That’s all I’ve ever known.”

Alvelo had just a few scrapes but was otherwise OK, as was her cousin Tampakov, both in the clutches of relatives at the scene.

Eddie Ellis, managing editor for the Havelock Progress who was on the scene that day, dubbed the incident in a headline in the next edition of the paper “The Miracle on Railroad Street.”

“The thing that struck me at the time was that the gentleman (Dunn) on the train had the presence of mind to tell the child to lay down,” Ellis said from his Florida home. “I think a more normal, human reaction would have been to be frozen with terror. He took action and told the child what to do and the corollary to that is the child did what the man said and that was the reason that I considered it to be some sort of miracle at the time.

“The story was received very warmly by the community because it was an actually amazing occurrence that could have certainly ended a lot different than it did. It could have ended in the death of the child, but it didn’t, so we were struck by the miraculous nature of the thing at the moment that it happened.”

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