On road to new home, displaced Danvers family hits detour

On road to new home, displaced Danvers family hits detour

First, the family lost their home in 2006 in the Danvers chemical plant explosion. Then, 18 months later, they lost their home again: The final piece of their modular house slid off a flat-bed truck on Route 1.

“It’s frustrating,” Victoria Newton said. After months of uncertainty, she said, things had started to come together, with a concrete foundation poured and three of four pieces of the house delivered.

She and her husband had even scheduled a week off work in July for the move. “Now, boom – another setback,” she said.

The section of the new house slid off the truck May 19 at an exit ramp after a cable holding it snapped, Newton said. She, her husband, Ken, and their three young children have been living in a rented house in Hamilton since the Nov. 22 blast destroyed or damaged 270 houses and businesses, more than 300 vehicles, and 65 boats. It left their house structurally unsound.

No one was seriously injured. Newton was pregnant and home with young twins when the plant exploded. She said she was glad it happened when people were safely asleep inside their homes, not during the day when her children might have been outside or near windows.

“My kids probably would have been dead,” she said. “I had a huge picture window that they used to play beneath, and the whole pane just came crashing in.”

Wayne P. Marquis, Danvers town manager, said almost all the families whose homes were damaged or demolished have been able to move back, with four homes and two group homes awaiting rebuilding. About $1.6 million was appropriated at a Town Meeting last week for the rebuilding of the community’s infrastructure, he said.

“We read this morning about the Newtons and figured, ‘Oh, gosh, what more could happen?’ ” he said. “After what you’ve been through, this pales in comparison. Everybody’s safe, nobody’s injured, it’s just one more step, and they know the end is in sight.”

The Newton family planned to move into their new house in July, but the accident will set them back at least until August.

Newton said the family cannot afford to pay both the rent, which their insurance will stop paying, and their mortgage, and will probably move in with her mother until the modular house is repaired and ready.

“I have three little kids, and they don’t really know what happened,” Newton said. “They knew the old house was the broken house, and they knew something happened, but they don’t know what. And they’re really looking forward to getting into the new house, because that’s all we’ve been talking about.”

For now, another month without their home seems relatively short compared with how long they have waited.

“What’s another month?” Newton said. “We’ve been out for a year-and-a-half already. Another month is not too bad, but it is very disappointing.”


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