The devastation was acute in some areas of Baldwin earlier this week as Hurricane Sandy hit hard. Reports from Baldwin Harbor indicated many homes were completely destroyed by the powerful hurricane and a savage storm surge that was exacerbated by a full moon.
Water and wind began rising early on Oct. 29 and even after they died down, the damages continued to mount.
School for Monday and Tuesday was canceled as early as Sunday, and has, as of this printing, been called off for the rest of the school week ending Nov. 2.
At least one blaze — a house fire on Stanton Avenue — demanded Baldwin Fire Department attention around 10 a.m., before Sandy even made landfall. There were also scattered transformer blazes during the afternoon preceding the storm’s arrival.
Rising tides hit low-lying areas of Baldwin hard before the winds picked up. As early as 7 a.m. residents of Baldwin Harbor were posting video to Facebook of neighbors canoeing over their front lawns.
As winds and rain began to slash Baldwin around noon, lights even in the high ground areas of the hamlet began to flicker. Many residents were without power from 1 or 2 p.m., and remained so as the Herald went to press. Once the storm made landfall, around 5 p.m., people locked their doors and windows and hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, for many in the area, those hopes were dashed.
“Our place was totally destroyed. Very sad day,” wrote one resident on his Facebook page. “Sandy gutted through everything. I will never forget the smell.”
“We’re OK, but the devastation around us is unimaginable,” wrote another Baldwinite. “Waves were in our backyard. The bay met the street.”
The Baldwin Fire Department worked tirelessly during the storm. They ran fire calls, performed water rescues and more. On his Facebook page former fire chief Kevin Smith wrote, “This Island has suffered complete and total devastation. Its not over, the next high tide and next news reports will be horrendous stories of loss of property and life. God bless everyone and their families.”