Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Long Rebuilding Process Continues In Breezy Point

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Breezy Point residents say just a handful of neighbors have moved back home with electricity and heat running. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Mike Bracci stuck it out in his Breezy Point house through Hurricane Sandy.

"The fire was worse than the storm," he said.

The fire burned more than 100 homes to the ground and stopped just six houses from him.

"It's pretty bad," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."

The flooding took just about all of his possessions. His foundation wall had to be replaced, but he hasn't left, and he got his heat back Wednesday.

"Sunday, we got electricity, I think, and my wife came home Monday, so that was good," he said. "We're married 51 years in February."

He had to throw out his wedding album and just about all the pictures of his family's life. He displays what's left outside, along with Christmas lights hung by his wife.

A few blocks away, Bob Hehner is just happy to have his regular lights back. He and his wife are still staying with his step-daughter in Brooklyn. He put his own money into repairs and said he's doing much of the work himself, replacing walls and insulation.

"The electrician walked out as you walked in, the electrician that hooked up the furnace finally," he said.

It could be a week before he moves back home with all his utilities, making him and Mike Bracci among a small group of Breezy Point Neighbors ready to start over.

"Four that I know of for sure, everyone's coming back," Bracci said.

"It will get back and it will get better. There's a tough bunch of people down here," Hehner said. "I'm betting that things are going to start very quickly within a year. The area that was burnt is going to take some more time."

NY1 is told that block foundations in the burned-out area will be difficult to save, but where there are poured concrete foundations, it's possible to salvage them. They will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. As for the water, it is still undrinkable.

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