From war zone to manageable chaos – that’s the miraculous situation on Broadway as clean up crews made record time in clearing trees, debris and traffic from the streets on Monday and Tuesday after the tornado.
Mayor Dan Rizzo – who along with Fire Chief Gene Doherty and Police Capt. Jim Guido – took the helm of the ship in directing the clean up that went astoundingly well.
“To see where we were yesterday and where we are today is nothing short of amazing,” said Rizzo at a Tuesday morning press conference in City Hall. “That a tornado coming down our Central Business District at 9:30 a.m. on a Monday morning – a workday – with no one seriously injured is most certainly a miracle.”
Rizzo said he couldn’t possibly thank everyone. He noted all of the surrounding cities for their Police, Fire, Inspectional Services and Public Works help.
He praised the work of the Revere DPW, Police and Fire for handling a catastrophe that none of them have ever experienced.
He also thanked the utilities and tree crews for making such quick work of restoring power and moving trees. Only a handful of residents were without power by Tuesday morning.
“Everyone from top to bottom did such a tremendous job,” he said. “I’m very, very grateful for everyone’s hard work.”
Doherty said he expected the damages to be in the millions of dollars.
He estimated that City buildings alone would require as much as $2 million worth of repairs.
Those buildings include City Hall, American Legion Hall, the Senior Center, Central Fire Station, Revere High School and the new Hill School project.
Private residences would likely add many more millions of dollars to the overall repair bill.
Getting federal disaster money, Doherty said, will be “difficult.”
Doherty said they had identified 65 buildings on Monday that had damage, with 13 that were uninhabitable – a large number for a City like Revere by all accounts.
However, he expects the number of damaged homes to increase.
“We will have people back out in the field to do assessments and re-assessments of the buildings,” he said. “We don’t think everyone has reported damage yet, so we do expect that total number to climb above 100.”
Doherty said there were surprisingly few injuries for such a powerful storm that came with little to no warning. He said a very small baby on Mountain Avenue was injured when a board came through the car window and the glass cut up the child. Another injury came near the skating rink on the Parkway where an elderly woman suffered a serious laceration to her forehead.
One reported minor injury came from a woman in the Old Mill who was hit in the mouth with an air conditioner.
Rizzo and Doherty said they plan to set up an informational center in the coming days that would act as a clearinghouse for residents to visit with insurance representatives, emergency management officials and Red Cross representatives – among others.