, Salem, MA

Danversport Explosion

November 20, 2007

Easily startled, some residents still wary in the aftermath of the blast

DANVERS — Linda Carney jumps when she sees flashes of light -- and she is not alone.

As the residents of Danversport piece their lives and homes back together, people say that while they feel safe, they're still haunted by the fiery explosion that jolted them out of sleep on Thanksgiving Eve. Some still struggle with sleeplessness and sensitivity to loud noises.

"My daughter is afraid of the sound of loud wind," said John Lynch of 9 Bates St.

"I'm sure we'll be that way for a while," said Bates Street resident Lisa Berman. "My neighbor next-door and I talk about it and we say the same thing: She can't sleep. She hears noises and she jumps out of her skin, and I'm the same way."

Bates Street resident Donna Joyce was Christmas shopping at Target last year and was startled by a sneeze.

"We were in line and a guy sneezed a huge sneeze, and I just gasped and grabbed my throat," she said.

"It's still hard. You still kind of lose it sometimes," said Janet Lettich of Riverside Street.

For many Danversport residents, the stress of the last year was compounded by the confusion of navigating insurance claims, and rebuilding and repairing their homes.

"Hectic. Hectic and nerve-racking," said Bates Street resident Kelly Lord when asked to describe their 10-month displacement and rebuilding. "We had to make lots of financial decisions, and all the decisions of building a new house | doorknobs, windows, where to put the bathrooms, color of the bathrooms."

"In 45 minutes, I watched 25 years of my life put in the Dumpster," Lettich said of the day her home was torn down at 12 Riverside St.

But many Danversport residents say they are resolved to move forward.

"When we get down, aggravated and annoyed, we remind ourselves we are lucky, lucky," said Lord. During the explosion, the force launched Lord's bureau into her forehead, where she had stitches and still bears the scar above her eye.

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