By Mac Cerullo
---- — PLUM ISLAND — The south beach of Plum Island will never look the same.
Two beachfront homes were demolished on Saturday after high seas washed the sand out from under them, causing them to fall over the edge of the dune and onto the beach. One other home will be torn down later today after its foundation was compromised.
Crews were busy cutting all utility services to the affected houses throughout the morning yesterday, and once the early high tide receded, they moved in with heavy equipment to tear the condemned houses down.
Police Chief Michael Reilly said the plan was to try and pull the houses back away from the beach and toward the roadway to keep even more debris, as well as the contents of the homes, from washing into the ocean where they could potentially cause further damage down the beach.
The first to go was the Bandoian house at 41 Annapolis Way, which tipped over the dune Friday morning and was left leaning on the beach at a 45-degree angle until it was demolished by a heavy crane at 11:53 a.m. yesterday.
The Bresnahan house at 31 Annapolis Way followed shortly afterwards. The house, previously deemed structurally unsafe and uninhabitable late last year, toppled off its foundation early Saturday morning.
Both buildings were unoccupied at the time they went over the edge.
The third house set to be demolished is the Nee house at 37 Annapolis Way, which had already suffered extensive damage following the Blizzard of 2013. Significant effort was put in to shore up the house after that storm, but it was all for naught after the latest storm washed all the engineering away and left the house in worse shape than before.
Throughout the morning people were seen retrieving belongings from the house and loading them into a yellow Penske truck. The house’s owner, Tom Nee, had lived on the property for 40 years prior to this storm.
Once the Nee house comes down later today, Bob Connors, who lives at 39 Annapolis Way between the ruined houses, will be left without a next-door neighbor.
“The worst part about all this is seeing your neighbors go through all this,” Connors said.
At least a dozen houses are now perilously close to the edge of the dune, and officials are concerned that other homes may be at risk of collapsing as well.
With so many homes at risk of falling over the dune’s edge, Newbury police declared a local state of emergency on Friday 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.
Newbury Police said several people have already been issued summons for trespassing and many more have been given warnings for disobeying the ban. Police have asked that curiosity-seekers stay away for their own safety and so workers can clear the area and shore.