UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: Fairfield beach area: Many left, but these people stayed

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fairfield beach area: Many left, but these people stayed

Patty Zecchi and her husband Paul decided to stay at their home in the 1700 block of Fairfield Beach Road when Hurricane Sandy hit. Their home is about three-quarters of the way down the road that is a peninsula. “We did it because last year there was no security,” she said.
This year? “I think the police did an outstanding job providing protection this time compared to Irene,” she said. After a town meeting held in Greenfield Hill Congregational Church on Thursday, Zecchi said that three days after the storm, she still couldn’t get to her home except by kayak.“We knew there were dangers in staying,” she said, adding that one of the biggest was medical concerns. Should anything happen to either of them, there was no way they could have gotten out during the storm, she admitted. However, they had a pair of defibrillators and knew how to use them. Both are CPR trained. “We have a garage cottage and we stayed there because we have one of the highest points on the beach. It’s well-built and very high,” she said. “We had food, water, and enough gasoline to run a generator for a week. We had a lot of planning,” she said. Even so, the Zecchis may have just plain lucked out.
At 10 p.m. on Monday night, two hours before high tide, waves were breaking at a height of 15 to 18 feet, by the Zecchi’s own estimate. “We could see because the moon was out,” she said, adding that the rain appeared less ominous than the wind. “The neat part was that at 10:30, the winds changed from Northeast to Southeast,” she said, pointing out that most flooding for their house comes from South Pine Creek, not Long Island Sound, “The Southeast winds reversed the surge and pushed the water out so that by high tide, there was less water than at 10:30 p.m. The water level had actually dropped a foot and a half,” she said

“If it hadn’t reversed, I daresay those 15 foot waves would have been breaking down our door,” she added. “People on Reef Road and Rowland really got hit,” she admitted, since the reversal of wind did them no favor. “Our main problem now is we don’t have gas, water, or electricity, and after this meeting, we still have no timelines,” she said. For the Zecchis and the 300-plus homeowners on the western end of Fairfield Beach Road, it will be a long wait. And for some of them, there’s no home to which they can return. Christine Knuth lives on the other side of Pine Creek. READ MORE:

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