Pat Norton looked dazed Tuesday morning as investigators surveyed the extensive damage done by super-storm Sandy to the building that houses her boatyard office and marine store.
The building flooded during the storm and the roof came off, landing in part on the train tracks behind.
The Norton family has owned and operated a shipyard and marina in East Greenwich since 1966. Pat took over the business from her father, who founded it. Just last year, Norton's hooked up to the Warwick sewer system after an 8-year-long odysessy.
By Tuesday, the catastrophe that was Sandy was a bitter blow, even if, as Pat herself acknowledged, Norton's was the lowest point in town.
The drama took place Monday.
"I was standing in front of the lift and all of a sudden I hear this 'eeeekkk' and it just peeled like a can opener," said Karen Hogan Monday night. Hogan, who lives in Cowesett, had been there monitoring her boat, which had been pulled from the water in advance of the storm.
"It hit the train tracks. It was horrible, a horrible noise," she said of the roof. At the time, water was still swirling around the parking lot outside Norton's.
By Tuesday, the water had withdrawn but a thin coating of mud remained on the floor inside the store and office at Norton's.
"We're just waiting," said Nicole Pregoni of Norton's. The building may have been a wreck, but the boats everyone at Norton's had worked so hard to get out of harm's way the previous several days seemed to be all right. So did the docks at Norton's.
It was only the building.