Wednesday marks the 2nd Anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene
WTEN News 10 ABC
By Amy Cutler
August 28, 2013
Tropical Storm Irene swept through the Northeast on August 28, 2011 leaving behind a path of destruction and millions of dollars in damage.
Schoharie County and areas of Vermont were some of the hardest hit areas. Irene brought heavy flooding that left homes, roads and businesses underwater.
Many communities are still rebuilding. The Schoharie Area Long-Term Recovery Committee, or SALT, says that 63 percent of homes have been rebuilt, but more work still needs to be done.
From the outside, 145 Bridge Street looks like a brand new home — but it’s not. It was built nearly 150 years ago, one of more than a thousand other homes in Schoharie County considered an Irene “survivor.” The owner, Neil Klein, took NEWS10 crews inside to get a better idea of the damage left behind by the storm.
“Everything had to be gutted. We had water about three and a half throughout here, so we just cut everything at four feet, all the sheet rock, all the electric. The floors were gone,” he said.
“This wall was completely destroyed and I started dragging these things out down the driveway to get rid of them sawdust everywhere and the Marine Corps came from Stratton Air Force Base. We saw a bunch of people in town walked up to us and said hey, you guys need any help and we said sure. And the next thing we knew ten marines were here. And they formed a chain and in an hour and a half they were all out of here,” he said.
Klein has several more stories like that, volunteers he credits with helping him rebuild.
“We were in shock, there’s no way I believed we could come back the way we have in as short a time as we have,” he said.
And it wasn’t easy. Klein says it took six months, but walking through his home it’s pretty remarkable. Now two years to the day since Irene hit, many more homeowners are still struggling to come back and Klein had a message for them.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are people out there that will help.”