"CLEVELAND -- The first time Gene Roberts fell into the Cuyahoga River, he worried he might die. The year was 1963, and the river was still an open sewer for industrial waste. Walking home, Mr. Roberts smelled so bad that his friends ran to stay upwind of him.
Recently, Mr. Roberts returned to the river carrying his fly-fishing rod. In 20 minutes, he caught six smallmouth bass. 'It's a miracle,' said Mr. Roberts, 58. 'The river has come back to life.'
Monday is the 40th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969, when oil-soaked debris floating on the river's surface was ignited, most likely by sparks from a passing train."
Christopher Maag reports for the New York Times June 20, 2009.