Irene Damages Still Being Assessed
August 29, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji

Glass and glazing companies along the East Coast have re-opened shop today, after Hurricane Irene left estimated several billion dollars in damages, as it barreled up north along the coast over the weekend. On August 28, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency began its damage review of states affected by the hurricane that left at least 11 people dead, according to a Reuters report.

"We have seen no major damages in South Carolina," says Trey Rice, vice president, Ace Glass in Columbia, S.C. "There were some residential damages. It was windy, but we got lucky. There was more devastation up north. With the news coverage, I think people really protected their property and boarded up."

A little further up the coast, Bob Ox of Binswanger Glass in Richmond, Va., and Ed Marinelli of Binswanger in Norfolk, Va., were still assessing the damages. The pair reported they might have more information about damages next week.

Jeff Herman, president of Atlas Glass in Long Island City, lives in Westchester, N.Y., and reported no damage to his home. "I do know that many homes and roads were victims to fallen trees," he says. "At work (in Astoria, N.Y.) we have not had many calls as of yet [around noon August 29] for glass repair related to the storm."

Jean Brennan, office manager at Southern Glass & Mirror says her company in Swansboro, N.C., is a couple of miles from the intercoastal waterway, creeks and the ocean. “We had only some minor cosmetic damage done to our building and the eye of storm came very close to Swansboro,” she says. “I have been through many storms here in eastern North Carolina and … although we were lucky that the storm weakened more than expected when it made landfall, it was the longest hurricane I have been through. We are surprised that we have not received more phone calls for glass repairs – it seems that the community is familiar with hurricanes and was well prepared. We noticed that many of the repair requests we received were for glass that was broken while protection was being installed. Most of the other repair calls are from branches and trees that have fallen and the glass was not protected. There are a lot of vacation homes in the area, so some homeowners were not able to properly prepare. We do have additional vehicles on the road and available today so that we can respond quickly to customer calls, and although there has not been as many calls as we have expected – there has been a significant increase and we are happy that we are prepared.”

Steve Salerno, owner of Solar Glass in Island Park, N.Y., reported no damages to the store. "We put up about 250 boards from Long Beach to Rockville Center," he says. "We had to go to the Bronx on Sunday morning to get plywood. We had seven guys doing board-ups. Today we're taking down the board-ups as well as repairing door glass damages. We've had 10 door glass damages, three skylights and maybe four or five plate glasses. At home in Long Beach, we had a pretty decent 5- to 7-foot surge, and 75 percent of the people in my area have had water damage to their homes. The hotel [Allegria] had 3 feet of water in the lobby, and they're supposed to open up for a tournament this weekend."

Ali Ghahremani, president of Champion Metal and Glass in Long Island reported "some damages to certain buildings, which we expected." He adds, "We're attending to the most severe ones. It wasn't as bad as we expected. Water leakage was the major issue for ground floor buildings. We're trying to fix those mechanical aspects, like door operations. There were no breakage or window pop-outs. Everything is okay with my facility. Phone lines were down, but the cell phones worked. Everything's back on track today."

Funds from the federal government might ultimately cover much of the damage expense of Hurricane Irene, according to the Reuters report.

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