Forty Years After Agnes
BLOOMSBURG — Forty years after the fury of Hurricane Agnes hit northeast and central Pennsylvania, many people in the town of Bloomsburg still remember the devastation it brought.
“It was mass confusion. Everybody was running and going and doing whatever they could do,” said Dave Norton of Bloomsburg.
“Well, everybody was in shock. That was something we hadn’t got in a long time,” said Blanche Breisch of Bloomsburg.
The town of Bloomsburg was drowning in flood water. Forty years ago, Hurricane Agnes tore through the town, and had no mercy on those who lived near the Susquehanna River.
Norton lived on West Main Street right before the disaster hit, and said he remembers that day very clearly.
“There was no way to stop it. The only thing you could do was move your furniture and move your cars and move whatever you could move,” said Norton.
As the flood waters receded, the devastation began to surface.
“Lots of mold, lot of old carpeting torn up, trucks full of garbage,” said Jeff Thomas of Danville.
Many people said last year’s flood hit the town of Bloomsburg just as hard, if not harder than Agnes, and some folks who came back after Agnes did not come back this time.
“People were just gathering things up, well even now the same people are still living there now. They just moved out, they didn’t even come back to their homes,” said Breisch.
Every time the waters of the Susquehanna River rose and flooded the town of Bloomsburg, community members came together, friends and family helping each other, and they said that’s what they’re most proud of.
“Well we just pretty much stopped what we were doing for two or three weeks and went and helped friends. Clean out basements and that sort of thing,” said Thomas.
“The churches all chipped in. Everybody tried to chip in and try to clean up and fix and help anybody. That’s the big thing about a small town,” said Norton.
Many in Bloomsburg wonder if their community has learned from these disasters.
“You got to get away from the river. You don’t know what that river’s going to do,” said Breisch.