North Andover sustained close to $30 million in damages this month from the flooding that ravaged much of the state, Town Manager Melissa Murphy-Rodrigues told the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in a letter sent Monday.
The total included $3.3 million in damages to public buildings, $4.9 million in damages to more than 300 private homes, and $21.5 million in damages to local businesses, Murphy-Rodrigues wrote.
“We responded to businesses townwide to find flood waters five feet high forcing our firefighters to break glass and evacuate employees,” she wrote. “We saw parking lots flood until you could only see the tops of cars, and we watched businesses that had survived the Columbia Gas crisis and struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic literally get swept away by level three contaminated floods.”
Some businesses “were brand new like the toy store and the vet clinic, and others were long-loved staples in town like Jaime’s Restaurant and Sutton Street Service.”
On Tuesday, Murphy-Rodrigues said she sent the letter in the hopes that “MEMA will assist the town in securing funding from FEMA and also that we will receive any other available assistance for our residents and businesses.”
The town declared a state of emergency on Aug. 8 after more than 6 inches of rain drenched the area in a matter of hours, Murphy-Rodrigues wrote.
“The impacts of that unprecedented rainfall reverberated throughout our community with residents, businesses, and our own buildings impacted in ways never seen before,” Murphy-Rodrigues wrote.
Officials immediately opened a shelter at Town Hall, while firefighters “pulled residents out of flooding homes as water levels rose to meet their outside electrical meters,” Murphy-Rodrigues wrote. “Power was cut to entire sections of town as we struggled to determine what houses were taking on water.”
The Housing Authority had to evacuate buildings and seniors were relocated to relatives’ homes or hotels. Some residents are still without power.
“We still have residents who can not return home,” Murphy-Rodrigues wrote. “We still have residents taking an accounting of their losses, asking for cleanup supplies, removing water from their basements, first floors, and garages, and struggling with damage to their foundations and infrastructure.”
Insurers are denying some claims, she said.
Heavy rains returned last week, adding to the damage, she added.
“We had not put the pumps back into storage,” Murphy-Rodrigues wrote. “We had not rebuilt. Our ground was still saturated. Our dams were still flowing at a steady rate, and a flash flood warning shook all of our phones as three inches of rain fell upon the town in a two-hour period causing additional destruction to many of the same businesses and residents.”
MEMA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
This breaking news story will be updated when more information becomes available.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.