Sandwich Fire Department
The storm that swept into Massachusetts on Friday left a path of destruction up and down the coast.
In Sandwich, said Fire Chief William Carrico, the foundation of a home on Wood Avenue was compromised to the point that the structure is uninhabitable, and five homes on White Cap Path will also have to be condemned, he said.
The foundation of a home on Salt Marsh Road “ripped apart and fell into the ocean,” said Carrico. “The ocean was crashing into the house.” Contents of the home washed out to sea, he said.
In addition to the structural damage, the coastline itself took a beating during the storm.
“The erosion is pretty significant all along the shore,” Carrico said.
In Orleans, two iconic structures on Nauset Beach will be removed because of erosion, Fire Chief Anthony Pike said.
Liam’s, an iconic snack stand on the beach known for its fried clams, was planning on closing in two years, Pike said. But because of bad erosion on the beach, it will have to be demolished soon.
The town gazebo, which has featured in many people’s weddings as well as hosted summer concerts, has to be removed as well, he said.
The fire department received over 100 calls for storm-related service over the weekend, Pike said, due to downed power lines, fallen trees, flooding, and structure damage.
The town’s water supply was also affected, as the electricity powering pumps that pull water from the ground went out, forcing the town to rely on generators until the issue was resolved on Monday morning.
“I think that the town fared well through the cooperation of the residents and certainly the response and recovery efforts of all the town agencies,” Pike said.
Marshfield Town Administrator Michael A. Maresco said that Brant Rock was flooded by 3½ feet of water, which impeded cleanup efforts.
“The storm was ferocious,” said Maresco. “We sustained quite a bit of damage.”
There were two breaches in the seawall, and several homes were damaged. Video footage of huge waves slamming into homes on Ocean Street made the rounds on social media. The waves were so high that they went up and over the roof of one house.
“The waves went right through that house,” said Maresco.
Homes on Foster Avenue and Bay Avenue were also battered by the surf.
“The ocean pounded right through some of the walls,” he said.
At one point, there were 12,000 homes and businesses in Marshfield without power. As of Monday morning, fewer than 3,000 were still waiting for their electricity to come back on, he said.
“We’re telling folks to be patient with the power company,” said Maresco. “They’re working as quickly as possible.”
In Plymouth, a vacant restaurant on Warren Avenue — formerly the site of Bert’s Landing — was clobbered by powerful surf.
“The whole back is blown right open,” said Plymouth Town Manager Town Manager Melissa Arrighi.
In Quincy, sections of seawall were compromised, roads buckled, trees came down, and flood waters reached as high 8 to 10 feet in some places, according to Chris Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas P. Koch.
“Flooding is the major source of damage,” Walker said. “There was water on the first floor of places that were built on stilts.”
Walker said the area from Post Island to Houghs Neck was hit the worst. Approximately 100 rescues had to be made during the storm, and more than 500 people were evacuated, he said.
By Monday morning the number of households without power was down to fewer than 1,000, according to Walker.
Walker said the city helped residents pump out approximately 125 homes, and engineers were out assessing the damage throughout the city. Cleanup crews have been picking up debris from roadways that were covered by sand and debris, he said.
At least $3.5 million will be needed to make emergency repairs to the seawalls, and the price tag of fixing them will only go up after the full scope of the damage is assessed, he said.
On Martha’s Vineyard, Oaks Bluff Fire Chief John Rose said the shoreline was badly eroded in some places, including a section of Beach Road that will need to be repaired.
A number of power lines were also taken out by fallen trees, leaving the community without power for 10 to 12 hours, Rose said, but most, if not all, of the island has since been restored. Aside from one porch collapse, no structural damage was reported.
“Everybody did a really great job of getting to things quickly,” Rose said. “We don’t have an extensive amount to do.”
Gloucester Fire Chief Eric Smith was out sick for the day Monday, but was hard at work compiling a list of damage. He said he expected the list to continue to grow as home and business owners who evacuated or only live in the city part-time assess their properties.
“It’s gonna be expensive unfortunately,” Smith said. “You’re talking tens of millions of dollars likely between public and private damage, perhaps just in this community, let alone the communities around us.”
Flooding and erosion caused structural damage to a variety or properties, notably at least six homes, Magnolia Pier, several local restaurants and businesses, stretches of sea wall, and bridges and roads throughout the city. But still, Smith considers Gloucester relatively lucky.
“We may have fared better than many other cities due to our topography and where our businesses and homes are situated – we didn’t get as extreme of damage,” he said. “But there’s certainly flooding and there will be a high cost of repair.”
As the city looks ahead to another nor’easter that is expected Wednesday, Smith said it’s not going to make things easy.
“Having a snowstorm occur a few days later after this event is certainly not helpful,” he said. “You have to stop what you’re doing on recovery and go back in the snow mode. I feel bad for (the Department of Public Works) because they’re not getting any breaks.”
Smith added that damage to properties near the ocean needs to be dealt with quickly and that homeowners should make sure their homes and seawalls are up to code if they hope to preserve them for the future.
“Things that are private property but right on the ocean, given the nature of these storms and that it seems like these storms are becoming the new norm … it seems like we need to deal with this sooner rather than later.”
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