Bradford, PA Flood, May 1946

Bradford Cleans Up After Disastrous Flood

Housewives and merchants in Bradford yesterday and last night wielded shovels, brooms and hoses as they bent to the job of cleaning the mess of debris, silt and filth left on the wake of Monday night’s spectacular flood.

Million Dollar Damage Here

Estimates of the damage in Bradford rose to more than one million dollars yesterday after the waters had receded and the city surveyed the muck and silt that has settled in the first floors of homes, stores, hotels, theaters, restaurants and industrial plants.

“Closed” signs hung at the entrances of the stores in Main, Mechanic, East and West Washington Sts., while employees shoveled and scraped the filth from the floors. For the most part, merchants escaped heavy losses of stock, having moved it to higher shelves at the first indication of danger.

Gaping holes were left in Mechanic, Boylston, East and West Washington Sts., by the waters that heaved sidewalks and ate into foundations of buildings.

Many Heating Units Wrecked

A steady throb of motors beat through the day and night as pumps lifted water from basements revealing sorely wrecked heating units.

From the porches and clothes lines of residential districts hung mud-caked rugs and articles of clothing while curbs were hidden beneath piles of debris moved from the stricken homes.

Last night no water remained in city streets, but a thick coating of mud covered the thoroughfares.

Firemen Pump Out Cellars

Firemen last night were still at work pumping out cellars and basements. They had been on duty since Monday, had worked through the night and yesterday without sleep.

Some of their reports show the tremendous quantity of water trapped as the flood-waters receded. St. Benard School basement held seven feet of water; The Emery, more than 5 feet; The IOOF Building, 6 feet; Option House, 5 feet, St. Benard Rectory, 8feet.

In the midst of their activity, firemen responded to two alarms in the early morning hours. At 2:15 a.m., grease from a frier in the Mayflower Restaurant filled the building with smoke. No service was required there nor at a second alarm received 10 minutes later from the Star Garage.

Barbour St. Bridge Heaved

The north side of Barbour St. bridge was heaved by the force of water beneath it. City employees attempting to tow a 50-barrel oil tank lodged against the bridge at the height of the flood almost lost their truck when the weight of the tank started to pull the truck into the creek.

Yesterday patrons of The Emery and white collar workers of the Hooker-Fulton building offices had to hike to the upper floors when elevators were forced out of operation by flood damages.

Floors in many business establishments and homes were badly warped by the flood waters.

Hanley Co. Loses Records

The Bradford Theater yesterday still resembled an indoor swimming pool as pumps labored to remove the water. It is estimated by Manager Hayes Gabarino that hundreds of seats must be replaced at a cost of $25 apiece.

Hanley Brick Co. suffered the loss of records dating back to 1931 when the basement was flooded.

Lawrence G. Dana, Director of the Bradford office of the State Department of Public Assistance in West Washington St., yesterday announced that his offices would reopen this morning.

The Bradford Era, Bradford, PA 29 May 1946

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