During the September 2002 floods, Christian Barré was working at the Total petrol station in Bagnols where everything was devastated.
“Every year when the dates of the 2002 floods approach, I think back” confides Christian Barré, “I always have the images in my head“Twenty years ago, the Bagnolese retiree worked at the Total service station in Bagnols, on the road to Lyon, just after the bridge that crosses the Cèze.
“On Saturday, the storm did not stop all day and night. The water had not risen yet. We were used to it, we had procedures when the Cèze rose. On Sunday evening, it got complicated. There was a torrent on avenue Vigan-Braquet, it was impressive” he remembers.
“A wave took everything away”
The day after, “the water was beginning to lick the petrol station, the Rimbaud park was overflowing. We closed“. The Robert-Schuman bridge is closed. But the worst was yet to come.”A wave swept away everything and in the early morning, “everything had been ransacked, the Casino gutted, the cars overturned“.
The fairground caravans and trucks, installed next to the Casino, during the votive festival in Bagnols, “have been carried away”. At the service station where Christian Barré works, a Dutch truck crashes into the pumps. Further on, a truck garage is flooded, and the oil drain tanks are spilling into another.
“It was apocalyptic”
“In our service station, everything was devastated, the pumps torn off, the gantry and the washing rollers were swept away, which is to say the force of the water which had risen to more than two meters. It was apocalyptic. You can’t realize when you haven’t experienced it.” The Bagnolais knows “that could still happen.”
In the following days, the retiree remembers the very strong bonds that were created in his team around their “tremendous“Boss, Coco Mazelier. Everyone rolls up their sleeves and two months later, the station is back in service.”It was a period of my life that I will never forget. We fought together to get back to work. It was like a family”.