In 1907 he saved the entire mining town of Nacozari, Sonora when he jumped onto a burning train that was loaded with dynamite and steered it to a safe distance before it exploded.
Jesús García began working on the railways at the age of 17. Originally employed as a Waterboy, he quickly moved through the ranks from Railway Switchman, to Breakman. By all accounts he was an unassuming hero in the making.
On the fabled morning of 7 November 1907 a large steam locomotive was stopped in Nacozari. Garcia was 23 years old at the time, and engaged to be married. As he took a break by the freight yard Garcia noticed that some hay on the roof of a train car containing dynamite had caught fire. Not only that, the locomotive’s firebox had failed and was spitting sparks out of the smokestack onto other areas of the train.
Realising that the fire was quickly spreading and that an explosion was imminent, Garcia jumped onto the train and drove it in reverse downhill at full-steam for six kilometers out of the town before the inevitable happened. The force of the dynamite exploding destroyed the entire train, killing Jesus Garcia instantly yet due to his actions spared the population of the small Mexican mining town.
Eyewitnesses said it rained gravel and metal fragments for several minutes after the explosion. The only thing they found of Jesus was one of his boots, which was later interred at his gravesite in downtown Nacozari. After performing such an heroic act, and paying the ultimate price for it, the fact Jesus Garcia is revered all over Mexico is no surprise.
The town quickly honoured their hero by erecting a statue and changing the name of the town to Nacozari de García.
To commemorate the day that he died, November 7 became the Day of the Railroader in Mexico, where all except essential employees of the National Railways of Mexico receive a day off each year.
All worthy accolades for a man that selflessly sacrificed his own life for the safety of others. Jesús García – the man that jumped onto a burning train loaded with dynamite, and saved an entire town.