After Sandy, 76-Year-Old Landlord Working To Rebuild Houses By Himself
As New Yorkers hit hard by Hurricane Sandy try to pick up the pieces, many are dealing with the damage to one home, possibly a home and a business. But one 76-year-old man is single-handedly trying to rebuild quite a bit more than that. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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For John Fazio, NY1 cameras were a welcome break from the work at his house and the large job ahead of him. The 76-year-old is trying to rebuild five houses and a businesses all by himself.
"I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I just barely eat," he said.
Like most Hamilton Beach residents, Fazio puts on a brave face and gets to work, starting with his house, then moving to some of the others. But after several weeks of working from sunrise until nightfall, the smiles are wearing thin. He has to get his tenants back home, but that could take months.
"Some of them are living in the offices where they work, and I don't know where some of the others are living," he said. "It's hard for everybody."
Fazio was born and raised in Hamilton Beach. In 1962, he bought his first house here and after landing a job with the fire department, he bought four more and built a mom-and-pop boatyard. He said they were all good investments.
One of the homes will have to be torn down, and the boat slip he rebuilt after Hurricane Irene was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, most of the boats were not damaged.
Fazio was also able to clear away most of the debris on his property, but he's waiting on a small business loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to tackle some of the bigger projects. He didn't have flood insurance.
"I didn't think I could afford it," he said.
So it's back to work while he waits for the money. If it comes through, Fazio believes he'll get all this work done by the end of the summer. His wife and neighbors say it could take a lot longer than that, but at least Fazio is still optimistic.