After Irene, Vermonters tally damages, blessings
Near one of the major sinkholes on Route 9 between Wilmington and Brattleboro, the Cooke Road bridge that leads to Whetstone Valley Farm had collapsed into the water -- a mangled mess of concrete and bent steel.
Conner Hamilton, 18, had walked over the bridge minutes before it crumbled. On Monday, he was most worried about his truck and his family's business. The collapse of the bridge made it impossible to get vehicles to his family's sugarhouse, sawmill and excavation business.
Hamilton's work truck was marooned across the brook along with a dump truck and excavation equipment.
Hamilton said he watched the bridge fall apart: "You didn't know what to think. Never thought you could have this much flooding in Brattleboro, Vt."
His mother, Lisa Hamilton, who owns the nearby Paradise Farm Sugarhouse, said she was still trying to wrap her mind around the danger the bridge posed to her son.
"I told him, 'Stay home.' He didn't listen," Lisa Hamilton said. "Ten minutes after he crossed the bridge, it gave way. He could have been on it."
Irene has been blamed for at least 40 deaths in the eastern U.S., including three in Vermont.
-- Maeve Reston in Brattleboro, Vt.
Photo: The Rev. Emily Heath holds a sign reading "We Are Praying for You" outside her church in Wilmington, Vt. Credit: Reuters / Brian Snyder