Flood of ’55 remembered by Waterbury survivor

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WATERBURY - This is Nick Coscia’s neighborhood.

“ I grew up here on Summers Street," he said. "Born and raised in that house right up there.”

He’s 77 now, but it was a moment in his life , when he was still a teenager, that he’ll never forget.

“Now the water was coming down from here, and the house and everything else, and they did find some bodies in there,” he said.

The Flood of '55 started 60 years ago this week, when Hurricane Connie brought half a foot of rain. The following week, Hurricane Diana came closer. That’s when the trouble started.

“Nobody could see the water was coming," he said. "People were scared. There were helicopters flying around. It was like a war zone."

The water of the Naugatuck River is tranquil now, but that was not the case when a game changer happened during the flood. The Thomaston Dam broke up-river, sending water surging 30 feet higher, 25 feet over the bridge and another 5 feet spreading water all over the land.

“When that dam broke, it came down here," he said. "A tremendous amount of water.”

The water peaked at 35 feet above flood state. Water rushed everywhere, including Summers Street. For Coscia, that’s when the storm became real.

“It demolished the houses. There was a man up there on the roof, holding on to the chimney, and he went down the river,” he said.

In total, 87 people died . Over 600 buildings were destroyed. A city left to rebuild, and on this anniversary of the Flood of 55, Coscia is one of a few who still remembers.