, Gloucester, MA

The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

The Storm's Aftermath

The cleanup began yesterday for people whose waterfront houses were damaged or demolished in Wednesday's storm.

In some cases the damage consisted of cracked foundations and washed-out yards. In other cases, homeowners realized that what was left of their houses would have to be torn down and the homes rebuilt from scratch.

Mayor Bruce Tobey said personal property damage was assessed at about $14 million. He said people who may have lost property or work hours may apply for federal and state disaster assistance.

On Bass Rocks Road, Edward Anderson, his wife Mary and their 14-year-old son Ed picked through the rubbles of what was once a beautiful cottage perched on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Anderson had been sitting in his den talking on the phone about 3 p.m. Wednesday when a wave smashed through the window in front of him and washed over him. He quickly left the house.

Yesterday, vestiges of the Wednesday storm's fury remained, as 6- to 8-foot waves thundered menacingly on the rocks just a few yards from the exposed interior of the Anderson's house, now a mass of twisted metal, broken wood and saturated drywall.

What was once a den and office on the first floor was now nothing more than a platform of concrete. The furniture had been blown into the house and was piled up in the living room. Other furniture littered the road and yard. On the far wall, a bookshelf stood intact, complete with a portrait of the family.

Anderson, while realizing he will have to tear down the house and build a new one, took a healthy perspective on the damage.

"We've been through traumatic experiences in our life," he said. "Nothing was lost that can't be replaced."

All day long, as in other parts of the city, friends and neighbors arrived to help the Andersons with offers of a place to stay or a warm meal.

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail