“I don’t think the storm is as bad (as the blizzard), but we have a fully compromised coastal dune system now so we have absolutely no storm protection,” Connors said. “So these homes are at risk at every tide.”
The ruined house at 41 Annapolis Way was owned by Stephen Bandoian, who is spending the winter in Florida, and was unoccupied when it fell. It was built in 1981 and was valued at $168,900, according to town assessor records. It replaced a building that was damaged during a storm in 1976.
The home was one of about seven that has been previously posted as unstable by the building inspector. It had been teetering on the edge all morning, and Kevin Baez, one of Connor’s employees, was there the moment the house began to fall.
“I was down between the railings taking pictures because there was an overhang and the ocean was coming up underneath it, and before my eyes, it just went,” Baez said. “It’s something you hate to see happen, and it’s tough to see. It’s not something you see everyday, it was pretty amazing.”
The other houses that suffered structural damage were at 31 Annapolis Way and 36 and 38 Fordham Way. Joslin said the town would need to assess the situation at those houses before determining whether they could be saved.
With so many homes at risk of falling over the dune’s edge, Newbury police declared a local state of emergency and announced that they would be closing the beach from Center Island southward toward blue, the Inn on the Beach for the foreseeable future in order to keep residents safe.
Police Chief Michael Reilly said officers would be patrolling the beach and warned that anyone caught on the beach would be subject to criminal charges of trespassing.