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October 31, 2012

Birdseye building takes Sandy's hardest shots

Birdseye site takes storm's best shots

The Birdseye building, a flashpoint in one of Gloucester’s hottest political and development issues, also proved to be at the center of the damage delivered by post tropical cyclone Sandy.

Tuesday, a flatbed truck with a lift sat next to the old industrial building as crews waited to fix a large section of aluminum siding that had been peeled back like the top of a tin can Monday night.

The winds tore back a roughly 40-foot section of the structure, with some of it resting on a Fort Square utility pole. The repair crew recruited to bend the siding back in place waited until after 6 p.m. for National Grid to turn off power on Fort Square. And the power was expected to be out for nearly six hours after the utility turned it off.

The building’s owner, the Beauport Gloucester LLC group headed by New Balance owner Jim Davis and Cruiseport Gloucester’s Sheree DeLorenzo, had crews on the scene from early in the day.

“Thank God everyone’s safe and no one got hurt,” DeLorenzo said.

The old Birdseye building was one of many places where Sandy left a mark on Gloucester and Cape Ann.

When winds reached gusts of over 80 miles per hour Monday night, they knocked down dozens of trees and cut power to over 4,000 customers in Gloucester alone.

Between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, Police and Firefighters responded to 600 storm-related calls, according to a statement from Police Chief Leonard Campanello. Campanello’s statement added that Public Works staff responded to another 100 calls from residents or businesses.

City crews had cleared most of the debris left by the post-tropical cyclone by late Tuesday, and National Grid’s outage map listed roughly 740 outages remaining in Gloucester as of press time. The utility did not have a time frame for restoring electricity to the home that were still without it Tuesday night.

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