'I was so scared,' says woman forced from Admirals Beach home during Hurricane Larry

·3 min read
Walter and Agnes Hearn's house flooded with sea water during Hurricane Larry.  (John Pike/CBC - image credit)
Walter and Agnes Hearn's house flooded with sea water during Hurricane Larry. (John Pike/CBC - image credit)
John Pike/CBC
John Pike/CBC

Walter and Agnes Hearn woke at 1 a.m. to find their house flooded with sea water as Hurricane Larry ripped through the Avalon Peninsula on Saturday, leaving behind property damage and thousands without electricity.

The Hearns live in Admirals Beach, on the southern portion of the Avalon. Their community was directly in Larry's path, and much of the area faced sea surge warnings.

"I looked out the window and said to my husband, 'We got to get out of here. The sea water is everywhere,'" Agnes Hearn told CBC News, sitting on a deck that was previously attached to her home, but was now anchored about 15 feet away.

"There was about a foot of water in the house, all over."

A neighbour noticed the Hearns had lights on inside their home at the time of Larry's peak, and entered the house to tell them they should leave. Agnes Hearn said the man picked her up in his arms to bring her to his car. Walter Hearn took the family's van.

The Hearns left for higher ground, up a hill to stay with Agnes's sister for the remainder of the morning.

"I was so scared. I couldn't sleep no more that night," Agnes Hearn said, adding it was the worst flooding she has seen in 48 years.

John Pike/CBC
John Pike/CBC

Walter Hearn said at midnight on Saturday the community was fine, but only an hour later a wall of water had flooded the town. He said the flooding happened fast, and at one point the water outside was as tall as his fence.

"It came that fast you could hardly see it," he said.

The Hearns lost eight cords of wood and their patio detached from their house, but inside their home many of their appliances, floors and beds were damaged from the water that poured in.

While both were unharmed, they don't feel comfortable living in their home anymore.

"We're lucky to be safe and thank God for that, and all the friends, they give you so much comfort. We would never get by without them people," Agnes Hearn said.

"All the people at Admirals Beach pulled together."

John Pike/CBC
John Pike/CBC

No electricity, no water

Four families in the community were displaced during Saturday's hurricane.

The storm surge blasted through the community's new breakwater — a structure built near the coast to protect harbours from severe waves — and also lifted one home completely from its foundation.

Admirals Beach Mayor Theresa Bungay told CBC News the breakwater didn't hold at all. The town's water supply also took a hit after electricity in the area went out.

"After the electricity went, our pumps went out for our artesian wells. So here we had no water from Saturday on, because what water was in the tank was used and we had nothing else," Bungay said.

"We had to wait for our technicians to come in from St. John's from the pump shops out there."

John Pike/CBC
John Pike/CBC

Water to the community has since been restored, Bungay said, but in the days without it was a scramble. Bungay said she was busy bugging people, such as MHAs, to have bottled water delivered to the community.

Everyone came through, she said.

Residents in the community chipped in to help clear the debris left behind by Larry, all while having no water or power.

"They came with their bikes and their trailers. It was unbelievable to see what was happening down there in the midst of all the tangle that was there. It was amazing to watch," said Bungay.

"They're still down there helping the homeowners gut out their homes and offering their trailers to bring loads of things to the dump.... I'm proud to be mayor any time, but now more so than ever."

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