Chicamacomico LSS Hit By Lightning- Needs Help!

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Postby vacastle » Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:46 pm

This was written by Chief Watson of the USCG, stationed in North Carolina. It couldn't be written more eloquently than he has already done, so his words are copied below. Please read. :cry:

I know it is a long read, but Chicamacomico needs our help - lightning almost took our station away from us! Please see the press release below. Chicamacomico is indeed a very special place here on the Outer Banks of NC, in fact, a magical place. Please pass the word!

Chief Watson, USCG Surfman #336 sends...

In the early hours of August 10 of this year, a violent thunderstorm passed over North Carolina’s fabled Outer Banks. The Chicamacomico 1874 Life-Saving Station located in the village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island took a direct lightning strike. A damage-assessment team comprised of the National Park Service, the State of North Carolina Preservation Office, and the Chicamacomico Historical Association was immediately called in to make a thorough examination.

In a follow up meeting on 21 August with this same assessment team, all parties agreed that the structual integrity of the building has been seriously compromised and therefore should be closed to everyone until repairs are affected. The lightning hit the east-facing gargoyles atop the roof, traved down the king post between the two cathedral windows above the ramp, and continued in multiple directions throughout the building. The force blew out the east windows (glass, frame and all), shattered the king post, and split a floor joist on its way to the ground.

All four walls of the 20 foot by 44 foot building were moved out a quarter to a half inch. “It’s as a bomb went off inside the building,” said Ken Wenberg, Site Restoration Specialist and CHA Board of Directors member. “Almost every seam or joint in the structure shows some degree of separation.”

The loss of the king post means the east corner posts are taking the entire load of the roof. That fact coupled with the walls having been moved out means it would take very little to cause “catastrophic structural collapse,” the team’s way of saying “total loss.”

As a result, the team formulated a straight-forward three part plan: (1) close the building for the safety of the public and to prevent abusive behavioir which might trigger a collapse; (2) commense emergency bracing measures immediately which will stabilize the building long enough to (3) do complete rennovations.

The team was amazed that the building was still standing and attributed that to two things: the cleverness of the original design and construction and to the competent restorations that had subsequently been done to the Station.

The cost of the emergency repairs has been estimated at $10,000. The total structural repair job was estimated at $100,000. The Chicamacomico Historical Association, owners of the site, is a small non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation raising all of its own operating costs. The Association is now diligently seeking sources of funding for this major project. A specifiic strategy for raising these funds is forhcoming from the CHA board of directors. Interested benefactors should contact the Site directly, using the information below. This is an opportunity for you to become a Life-Saver by becoming a part of the history of rescuing this historically significant structure.

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site contains two of the 285 United States Life-Saving Service (hereafter USLSS) stations built all along America’s coastline from 1848 to 1914. They are two of the original 29 that dotted North Carolina’s barrier islands, and two of the ten stations on Hatteras Island alone.

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site contains seven of the 114 USLSS structures remaining in America today. As such, it is the largest, most complete USLSS complex in the nation. Chicamacomico’s 1874 Station was the first operational station in North Carolina, sits at the farthest point east in the state, and – until August 21, 2007 - was only one of two original 1874 USLSS stations open to the public in the nation. These are all very special claims.

Chicamacomico was the scene of the most highly awarded maritime rescue in American history (“SS Mirlo”, August 16, 1918), and has on display in the 1874 Life-Saving Station Surfboat No. 1046, the actual boat used in that stunning and dramatic rescue. Chicamacomico was also the scene of the last actual Breeches Buoy rescue in the nation (“Omar Babun”, 1954). These are even more special claims.

Today Chicamacomico is one of only two places in the US that performs the full Beach Apparatus Drill historic reenactment, and it is the ONLY one in the world performed by active-duty US Coast Guard personnel. This is extremely fitting, for in 1915, the United States Life-Saving Service merged with the United States Revenue Cutter Service to form today’s modern Coast Guard.

Collectively, these claims and superlatives make the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site a very special and unique place, truly one of America’s Treasures. A treasure worth saving.

For more information, call 252-987-1552, write CHA, PO Box 5, Rodanthe, NC 27968, email clss@embarqmail.com, or visit www.chicamacomico.net.

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Postby Grover1 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:26 am

From The Outer Banks Sentinel

http://obsentinel.womacknewspapers.com/ ... ts2741.txt

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Postby epona » Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:57 am

This is a good news story, with a great ending. Many people forget how important a job was done by the Live Saving Stations and Brave Surfmen who served at them.
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