Fire Island Lighthouse restoration begins

- A Long Island landmark that miraculously survived superstorm sandy is finally getting the TLC it needs. Workers have begun restoring the Fire Island Lighthouse to its former glory.

From the top of the lighthouse, you can see the entire barrier island. Its beacon helped steer sailors safely into New York Harbor way before there was GPS.

"It's an icon. It's history," said Dennis Mott of the National Park Service's Fire Island National Seashore unit. And while nothing at the historic landmark may seem wrong to the average visitor, Mott said work is desperately needed. The foundation sustained structural damage from floodwaters during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

This week marks the beginning of a $1.2 million restoration project funded by the National Park Service. People are pleased and want to see it protected. Workers are carefully restoring and resetting thousands of original paver stones from 1858 to help with drainage.

"The contractor is numbering each stone and is going to put it back in its existing spot," Mott said. "They're doing it in 20 by 20 sections and they'll be replacing them exactly how they pulled them."

The brick on the southwest corner of the terrace wall is also being restored.

"Over the years it had basically eroded away not only with water but with wind," Mott said. "We're going to take down this wall and rebuild it...  and we're going to put a new foundation underneath this corner."

The restoration focuses on the terrace outside but the inside of the tower is all original including the wrought iron stairs and the 800,000 bricks.

"What we like to do is put back original as much as we can," Mott said.

Visitors are still able to tour to the top during construction. The work is expected to be finished by mid-July.

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