Resident of Breezy Point, N.Y., looks for comfort in the rubble

(CBS News) BREEZY POINT, N.Y. -- Seventy-one-year-old Breezy Point, N.Y., resident Marie Loprestie is digging through what's left of 7 Gotham Lane -- her home of 34 years.

Despite the destruction of her home in Breezy Point, Queens, Marie Loprestie said she isn't going anywhere.
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She's looking for something -- anything -- she can take with her.

"It will help me remember what happened, so I can go on and have this rebuilt and come back," Loprestie says.

More than 100 homes in Breezy Point, a close-knit Queens neighborhood of mostly firefighters and cops, caught fire during the chaos of Superstorm Sandy.

When the flames started Monday night, Loprestie was in her house with two neighbors. First, water seeped in. Then the flames started.

"We thought we could fight it, at least we would have everything we owned," Loprestie says. "But then the fire started coming, and we couldn't fight that."

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They sought refuge in a neighbor's house. When that caught fire, they fled to another. All of the houses were lost.

The group finally found refuge at a church.

Today, they try to focus on what they have: their lives.

And the community's spirit is strong. Like most of her neighbors in Breezy Point, Loprestie says she isn't going anywhere.

"I want to be here," she says. "I belong in Breezy. This is our community."

Loprestie digs through the rubble of her house, determined to find something to ease the pain. Her determination is contagious.

"Oh, that's a plate. Oh, you found something," Loprestie exclaims when we pull a plate from the debris. "It's a plate I had in there. I didn't even like it. Thank you, thank you."

One small memory of a life blown apart by a terrible storm.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.