OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WWLP) - Hurricane Sandy caused more damage at the coast than inland, but on the Connecticut shoreline, some homes sustained more damage than others.
On Chalker Beach in Old Saybrook, few of the homes abutting the coast were completely spared, but the ones that fared well had something in common.
"The cottages that weren't raised, they're all full of water, they've got water in them," said Louis Vinci of nearby Middletown. "Now you see they're building up, they have to build up higher now, all the ones that are lower, they all have water in them."
Building coastal homes on stilts allows water, sand, and storm surge to pass mostly beneath a home rather than through it. Older homes not built on stilts had more significant damage.
Still, the damage in Old Saybrook wasn't just confined to the homes next to the water. A few blocks inland, the roads were still flooded, and two homes behind had actually been burned completely to the ground. Due to the flooded streets, the fire department couldn't do much to stop the flames.
"We couldn't ever actually get on scene with the fire apparatus at all for this fire," Old Saybrook Chief J.T. Dunn said. "The wind was blowing directly off the water, so it prevented the one home which was about 15 feet away from catching on fire, just because of the wind direction."
Residents here are learning how to deal with the aftermath of damaging storms, having lived through so many. Jim Vitali owns a cottage on Chalker Beach.
"Construction was done periodically over time, additions and repairs. We went and we repaired everything that was faulty with the house to begin with that Irene just showed us. So much better structure this time around," he said.
Those changes and improvements helped Vitali's family for Sandy, and now likely after they rebuild, they'll make some improvements again; using what they learned this time for the next weather disaster.