For many Westonites, the worst thing they had to contend with from Superstorm Sandy was a week without power and some windswept brush and downed wires in their yards. But other families lost much more than electricity.
If Kimberly Cole’s intuition hadn’t kicked in, her son and his two friends might have been killed when a 70-foot tree crashed through the roof of the room they had just left.
Fortunately for Roy Mirchandani, he and his family were in Milford when four trees came through the roof of his house, with one cleaving part of the home in two.
Barbara Gross thought she would outsmart the storm by buying a generator to keep herself warm. Little did she expect two trees to take off part of her roof allowing the cold air to rush in.
And Dan Baker thought after the storm ended that a tree that had crashed onto his roof was the worst damage his family would suffer. He was wrong. His car would suffer too.
These were just a few of the stories that Westonites will remember about Sandy, a storm so severe that Governor Malloy said about it, “The last time we saw anything like this was never.”
While there were no reports of anyone injured or killed in Weston from Sandy, all one has to do is drive around town to see the hundreds of trees ripped from the ground, roots and all, to know this storm was one of the most powerful to ever hit the town.
Kimberly Cole of Stillwater Lane wasn’t initially worried about Sandy on Monday. Her son Chris, 14, was enjoying pizza and watching movies in their TV room with neighbors Daniel Valentine, 14, and Robert Valentine, 13. As the storm intensified, Ms. Cole figured it was safer for the boys to stay over rather than bring them home in the storm. “I expected things to be the same as Irene. We had a generator, lights and TV,” she said.
Ms. Cole’s husband Charlie, a member of the Weston Volunteer Fire Department, went to Norfield Firehouse to be ready in case calls came in. After he left, the winds started picking up and Ms. Cole heard a ‘crack’ sound outside. “My instincts kicked in, and something came over me. I told the boys to stand up now and get out of the room,” she said.
The boys were all warm and cozy and didn’t want to budge, but she insisted they get out immediately along with their little Yorkie dog Lola.
Moments later, she heard what sounded like a train, and a 170-foot pine tree tore through the roof and crashed into the TV room — in the very same spot where the boys had just been sitting. “The kids started screaming!” Ms. Cole said. She called 9-1-1 not expecting to see her husband quite so soon.
The room was totally destroyed. Had the boys still been on the couch when the tree came down they could have been killed.
“Charlie said it was a good thing he was gone at the time because he would have talked me out of making the boys move,” Ms. Cole said.
Ms. Cole said she does not know why she knew something bad was going to happen at that moment, but she is glad she trusted her feelings. “You have to go with your intuition and your gut instinct,” she said.
Right after the tree fell, their neighbors Frances and Ron Phillips came to the Coles’ rescue and brought them to their home, which was warm and cozy, fueled by a generator.
Although her home was seriously damaged, Ms. Cole is just happy no one was hurt. “I’m just so grateful. We’re okay and we have great neighbors who are taking care of us,” she said.
Roy Mirchandani of Weston Road thought he had a good plan for the storm. On Monday morning, before the state highways were closed, he packed his daughter Annika, 11, son Ishan 14, and their dogs Ozzie and Bella into the car to stay with a friend in Milford.
They had hunkered down in their basement the night before but were concerned about the winds whipping around, and decided to leave. On Tuesday, a friend stopped by Weston the home and called Mr. Mirchandani and texted him some photos.
“It was shocking, a complete disaster beyond belief,” Mr. Mirchandani said.
Four huge trees had fallen on his house and crashed through the roof. His daughter’s bedroom, which had recently been remodeled, was a mess of plaster and debris. A bathroom and kitchen had been ripped to shreds.
One large tree looked like it had cleaved its way through the home, separating it into two sections.
The home is uninhabitable so the family is staying in a townhome in Wilton for now. Although initially quite sad to see what happened to their home, Mr. Mirchandani said his kids are “rolling with it.” Annika was especially happy when a contractor came across her clown costume intact in her bedroom, which she wanted to wear for Halloween.
“We’re treating this like an adventure, the kids are going to go back to school and we’ll move forward,” Mr. Mirchandani said.
Blue Spruce Circle
Barbara Gross, who lives on Blue Spruce Circle, thought she was much more prepared for Sandy than she was for Irene last year. After Irene hit, she was without power for two weeks. So this time around she set up a portable generator expecting to stay warm.
But when Sandy swept in on Monday night she quickly realized she was far from prepared.
“I heard a loud screeching noise and then a crash. Two 100-foot trees had crashed onto my roof. It was raining in my bedroom,” she said.
Fortunately, no one was in the room when the trees came down, but later when Ms. Gross inspected the extent of the damage, she was surprised. “I couldn’t believe trees that were that far away from my home had crashed down on it. I was rather shocked by that,” she said.
After the storm, Steve Thomas, a local contractor and friend of Ms. Gross from the Weston Kiwanis Club, volunteered to cover the hole in her roof with a tarp. “I’m very thankful for his help,” she said.
In light of the destruction Sandy caused in other areas, Ms. Gross is taking the “glass half full” approach to her home. “It’s only stuff, no one got killed. Stuff can be repaired,” she said.
Old Hyde Road
On Old Hyde Road, Dan Baker wasn’t very happy when a tree fell on his house during the storm. There was roof damage and he had to call his insurance company. But he figured things could have been worse and he would deal with it.
The family had other things to contend with too. His wife’s car had broken down on Halloween and needed to be fixed.
Then the unfortunate happened. While his car was parked on Old Hyde Road, a utility truck from Kansas City backed into it and smashed it. He filed another insurance claim.
“All I can say is from the bottom of my heart, we are way more fortunate than other people I know. Our house is pretty much intact. We’re just bearing it,” he said.