FAIRFIELD — John McKean thought his family photos and videos were gone forever.
Storm Sandy destroyed his Fairfield Beach Road house a year ago, and the storm surge washed away almost everything.
But in the days after the storm last year, FOX CT’s John Charlton, while reporting from the scene, found a video camera and a waterlogged video cassette labeled “Christina’s 1st Birthday,” “Christina’s 2nd Birthday,” and “Uncle Ed’s & Grampy.” There was no other identifying information.
Charlton brought the camera and video to Video Lab in Orange, which specializes in restoring videos recovered from fires and transferring film to DVD. Technicians there salvaged almost all of the footage on the tape — about an hour and a half worth — and transferred it to DVDs.
As part of a story about the one-year anniversary of the storm, Charlton showed the footage on the air on Tuesday, hoping someone would be able to identify it.
“The plan was always to air a story about it,” and it was crucial to show the restored footage with people in it, Charlton said. “We hoped that would increase the odds of recognizing someone.”
Within 24 hours, he got an email from McKean.
“I am sitting in my office in Greenwich Ct. and your news video just brought me to tears,” McKean wrote. “The video that you retrieved from Fairfield is one of many irreplaceable items that we lost during Super Storm Sandy. … As I am sure you know, the video that was recovered has great sentimental value. Please contact me … Many, many thanks.”
Charlton and McKean met on Thursday at the empty lot at 2117 Fairfield Beach Road where McKean’s house once stood. Charlton gave him the original tape and the DVDs. McKean gave Charlton a hug.
“There’s no replacing this,” McKean said. “The sentimental value is huge. … For it to come back like that, it’s just absolutely amazing.”
“It was great to sit down with him and talk about his life since Sandy,” Charlton said. “He’s still in transition. … I’m glad we’re making him feel a little better about things.”