Saturday, 2:15 PM
Storm erosion imperils Plum Island cottage
(Globe photo/Mark Wilson)
By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff
An oceanfront cottage on Plum Island is in imminent danger of collapsing into the surf and will probably be taken down by public safety officials tonight, the Newbury police chief said.
“We’ve decided that it needs to come down and were just trying to figure out the best way to do and the most prudent,” said Michael Reilly, police chief and the emergency management director for the North Shore town.
A storm coming off the Atlantic earlier this week caused severe erosion, forcing Geraldine Buzzotta, a 79-year-old widow and grandmother of eight, to flee her cottage late Tuesday night.
Buzzotta was in the home with her 27-year-old grandson when they heard crackling sounds underfoot. She left with only her 2-year-old Chihuahua, leaving behind 43 years of accumulated memories, photographs, and personal effects, including her wedding ring.
When she returned this morning about 9 a.m., she found that the home had been blocked off by yellow caution tape, and officials were trying to determine whether it could be salvaged. The decks alongside the house and the center support beams under the home had collapsed, Reilly said.
A range of local officials, from the police and emergency management department to the fire department, the building department, and the conservation office, huddled throughout the day and communicated with state and federal officials trying to determine a course of action for taking down the home in an environmentally sensitive area.
High tide in Newbury tomorrow is 11:03 p.m.
Buzzotta lost her husband, Mario, a former Winchester police lieutenant, two years ago after 56 years of marriage. He built up the cottage from a crumbling shack into what would become a comfortable, year-round home.
“Oh, I wonder if he's looking down,” Buzzotta said as she stood along the edge of Northern Avenue with family and friends. “This was his dream.”