NEWBURY -- The ocean had threatened the home on the bluff, the surf pounding ever nearer and undermining the foundation. But in the end, the coup de grace was delivered not by nature, but by a big yellow excavator.
In just about an hour-and-a-half this afternoon, the powerful piece of construction equipment tore into the house on Plum Island and reduced it to rubble.
Newbury Building Commissioner Sam Joslin ordered last week that the house at 27 Annapolis Way on Newbury's portion of Plum Island, be razed, after high surf during the late-December snowstorm ripped away the banking beneath its foundation.
Several spectators stood by watching as a bulldozer leveled the building today.
Owner Gary Litchfield, a Burlington builder, bought the house in November from its long-time owners, and has permits in place to eventually rebuild on the land. The house is one of two that have been razed on Plum Island in the past two years; others are also imperiled and are shored up with hay bales and sandbags.
The ocean has nibbled at Plum Island for years, its appetite intensifying with fierce coastal storms. According to a 2009 report by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the barrier island is losing 13.3 feet a year, and 26 structures could be affected in the near future if nothing is done.
On the beat
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