SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Danversport Explosion

November 20, 2007

Cost of blast could top $20 million

(Continued)

DANVERS —

Three insurance companies have filed suit to recoup payments -- roughly $2 million so far -- that insurers have made to business and property owners to repair damage from the explosion.

"I was very shocked by how well insurance worked out. That might not be fair, but you heard a lot of horror stories," said John Lynch, whose severely damaged home at 12 Bates St. had to be torn down and rebuilt. His insurance covered the costs.

While many houses have been rebuilt, some residents are still in limbo.

"As bizarre as it sounds," resident Kelly Lord said, "the lucky ones are the ones who had their homes condemned."

For Janet and Mark Lettich, insurance agreed to repair their home, but not rebuild it.

"It was so badly damaged," Janet Lettich said, "we didn't want to go through that."

So, like many other residents, the Lettiches have relied on a combination of insurance claim money along with bank loans and Small Business Administration disaster loans to make up the difference. They rebuilt their home on Riverside Street and moved in recently.

At the New England Homes for the Deaf, which is a nonprofit agency that houses 84 residents in independent-living apartments, a rest home and a skilled nursing facility, Zeltzer said he is eager for a conclusion.

"It's taken too long," he said, "but my staff and the residents are absolutely amazing people. Without them, none of this would have resulted in success. The community has been astounding | that's what we have to be thankful for."

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