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Storm wreaks havoc in Whiting

WHITING — A violent May 26 storm sent a large oak tree crashing through the attic and a second floor bedroom at the home of Whiting residents Madeline and Lawrence Denis.
Although the family’s insurance will cover the cost of repairing the house, the damage caused by the tree, which Lawrence Denis estimated was about three feet in diameter, goes far beyond the cosmetic. The couple has lived in the house, which was built in the 1700s, since 1952. And insurance won’t cover the cost of the many possessions, both practical and sentimental, that the damaged rooms held.
The Denises, both in their 80s, has been staying at their daughter’s house in Shoreham since the accident, but they have been traveling back and forth to the house to oversee work being done.
In the week following the storm, Dave Munson of Bristol had to bring a crane and a crew to remove the heavy limbs from the house. After that the Denis family was able to begin removing furniture and belongings. Their relatives — many of whom are spread throughout Addison, Shoreham, Whiting and Sudbury — have been helping clear out the house, which has proven to be a slow process.
“Our grandkids have been very helpful,” Lawrence Dennis said.
After the tree was removed, it became clear how many of their possessions were damaged from the impact and the water seeping in through the collapsed roof.
“All our clothes were in (the bedroom), and all our jewelry — my wife’s and grandmother’s,” Denis said.
Luckily for them, the couple had stopped using the upstairs bedroom some time ago, so neither one was in the room during the storm.
The couple has spent the past two weeks waiting for details on how long it would take to reconstruct the house and what the price tag would be. They are also waiting for the installation of a mobile home on the property where they will be able to live until the repairs are done, but the delivery requires good weather forecasts, and Lawrence said he didn’t expect the mobile home to arrive until some time this week.
All this has taken a toll.
“We’re about ready for a breakdown, I guess,” said Lawrence.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].

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