Pawleys Island residents clean up after Irma, reflect on past storms: 'Here we are again'


People across the state are continuing to recover after Tropical Storm Irma. Pawleys Island took a beating, as sand and debris covered the main road on the south end.

SCDOT crews were scraping sand off the road and loading up dump trucks Wednesday morning.

The commotion of construction crews hard at work created a new soundtrack for the usually quiet, quaint town.

"These blows from Mother Nature, we've just got to handle it," said Mark Stenstrom, who owns and rents property along the damage area of Pawleys Island. "Here we are again, taking care of it. We gotta take care of it and put it back together. It's a beautiful place."

But, he said he can't help feeling like he's reliving a nightmare.

The house he was working on Wednesday was severely damaged by Hurricane Matthew just last October.

"We lost basically the whole front of the house. We were left with the floor joints but, the wall system, the roof was completely flipped up on top of the house," he said, describing the damage. "It was painful."

He said it took him more than seven months to rebuild.

"We had just got the house put back together about three and a half months ago, right before the summer rental season," he said.

Now, another storm has made its mark on the house.

"All of our walkways were peeled up. The sand was pretty deep and we tried to level it off the best we could. The walkway steps came off," he said, as he walked underneath the house that's elevated. He had his son and a few others helping him on Wednesday.

Construction crews work diligently piecing houses and roads back together in Pawleys Island.

"We will probably be working five, six days a week [for] nine, ten hours a day until it all gets taken care of," said Mark Bailey, a general contractor for SeaSpray Homes. He says his boss' phone has been ringing off the hook since the storm as people request repairs to their properties.

Bailey says a lot of the repairs they're seeing are to walkways and stairs to the beach in Pawleys Island.

He says home owners are looking at costs ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands in repairs from the storm in the area.

As Stenstrom pencils out pieces of wood, cuts them and puts his property back together, he said he reminds himself with each piece that it could have been a lot worse.

"I'm one of these guys that does a little praying every day. You've got to do it these days," he said.

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