Hurricane Irene Destroyed My Town

A resident shares his story and photos.

Editor's note: Matt Branscombe shares this content with East Haven Patch. It originally appeared on his blog, BSC Photo Studio.

By Matt Branscombe

All day Saturday I was at The Barns in Middletown shooting a wedding, but my wife kept me up to date via text of all the preparations for the hurricane.

I was a bit skeptical due to the past few that have come our way and had no effect on us but she assured me this one was going to be big! Early in the night I received a frantic text from her which stated that the authorities were issuing a mandatory evacuation for my neighborhood and that by staying you revoke your right to be rescued.

This worried me.

As the night came to a close, I rushed home through some heavy rain and crazy wind. I was happy to find Lindsay had done everything she could to prepare for the storm so we put our feet up and waited. By 3 a.m., we were both too tired to stay up any longer.

At about 9 a.m. Sunday, we were startled awake by a loud pounding on our window. Our 80-year-old neighbor was trying to wake us up to warn us our cars were getting close to being flooded.

After the initial shock of seeing our street under water I realized it wasn’t too bad and quickly calmed down. About two hours later the water had completely receded and besides having no power all seemed OK. I again felt like the authorities made it seem worse than it was.

Later that afternoon a neighbor told me about the destruction just a few blocks away at Cosey Beach. Needing to see for myself, I took my cameras and went for a walk.

The police had all roads in blocked off. Having big fancy cameras and walking with authority gives you a lot of leeway.

Just a few short steps past the police barricades the damage became visible. Big beautiful beach houses had crumbled to the ground or had been washed into the Sound. Debris was scattered all over the roads and it seemed like every tree had lost limbs.

As I made my way down Cosey Beach Road and up a few side streets it was heartbreaking to see the people whose homes were lost or damaged. To add insult to injury, the National Guard had to be deployed because people were looting.

Here is the damage in East Haven’s Cosey Beach neighborhood through my eyes and my lens.

Chris Dobbins September 13, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Thanks for sharing this. I had heard about the damage in Cosey Beach but these are some of the first photos I've seen. I live in Pine Orchard in Branford and our entire first floor was smashed in by a giant wave.


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