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Weare woman still suffering from Sandy's wrath

WEARE - For most people in New Hampshire, Hurricane Sandy was little more than an inconvenient October storm that caused widespread power outages. But to Darlene Lunt, Sandy was a storm that destroyed her home and left her struggling to find help.

For the past decade, Lunt, who works directing traffic for road crews, has lived in a mobile home in South Weare. The three-bedroom unit is aged and needs work, Lunt said, but it's the place she calls home.

When Hurricane Sandy came through in late October, Lunt spent most of the day out flagging traffic for Public Service of New Hampshire as crews struggled to keep up with downed lines. When she got home that night close to 10 p.m., she had just walked out of her bedroom when she heard what sounded like a freight train.

"The next thing I knew, a tree came crashing through my house," she said.

A massive pine crushed the back end of the mobile home, but luckily, Lunt said, no one was hurt.

"The Red Cross came and gave me money for clothes and food," she said, "but my home was not insured. Old mobile homes like mine are hard to insure anyway."

Lunt began looking for help and realized that the tree that had fallen on her home came from town conservation land. She reached out to Town Administrator Naomi Bolton to see if the town's insurance would cover the damage.

Bolton said photographs were taken of the damage and sent to the town's insurance carrier, Primex, but because it was an otherwise healthy tree that had been uprooted due to the storm, insurance wouldn't cover the damage.

"If it had been a dead tree that we knew about and failed to take down, insurance probably would have covered it," said Bolton. "But this was an act of nature."

The town's building inspector condemned the mobile home because it's not safe for anyone to live in the structure, and Lunt has been staying with relatives, but she's finding herself with few options.

She can't afford to take the old mobile home out and install a new one.

She is seeking help through disaster relief funds from the Department of Homeland Security, but thus far she doesn't know if any help is on the way.

"All I want is to go home," said Lunt.

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Nancy Bean Foster may be reached at nfoster@newstote.com.

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