'My mother's house was shaking'

Terry Roberts
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Torbay man mourns quake victims; thankful Italian relatives escaped harm

If he were younger and in better health, Bruno Dicintio says he would travel to Italy in great haste to provide whatever help he could to the survivors of the deadly earthquake that hit the central part of that country early Monday.

But with a weak heart and a right leg that is still healing following a recent break, the 71-year-old Torbay resident must bide his time at home, and follow the devastation in the media.

Top photo, Bruno Dicintio and his wife Betty stand outside their Torbay home, with the Italian flag flying in the background. Dicintio's family members survived this week's powerful earthquake in Italy. Bottom photo, firefighters and police officers searc

If he were younger and in better health, Bruno Dicintio says he would travel to Italy in great haste to provide whatever help he could to the survivors of the deadly earthquake that hit the central part of that country early Monday.

But with a weak heart and a right leg that is still healing following a recent break, the 71-year-old Torbay resident must bide his time at home, and follow the devastation in the media.

"I'm not feel too good right now," said Dicintio, who has a strong Italian accent.

"I would go there and do anything if I were younger. I can't take no pressure right now."

Dicintio and his wife, Betty, received a call from a friend early Monday, informing them that a powerful earthquake had struck Dicintio's homeland.

He immediately tuned into the Italian news channel that he receives by satellite, and was shocked by the images of destruction and the reports of the dead, missing and homeless.

The death toll by Tuesday evening had reached 235, more than 1,000 were injured, and between 17,000 and 25,000 people were forced to seek emergency shelter.

Dicintio immediately began making phone calls to his family members in Italy, including his 94-year-old mother Josephine, two brothers and a sister.

He was relieved to discover they were safe, but rattled by the experience. His nephew, a firefighter at the airport in Pescara, has been sent to help out in the quake zone.

"My mother's house was shaking, but they're all OK," Dicintio said.

He grew up in Pescara, a city of roughly 125,000 residents on the Adriatic coast. It's located about 45 minutes from L'Aquila, the city in central Italy that was hit especially hard by the quake. It's been estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 buildings - ancient and modern - were either damaged or destroyed.

A series of aftershocks caused further panic.

Dicintio moved to Toronto with his family in 1957 at age 15. He came to St. John's two years later to help construct Confederation Building. The company he worked for did the tile and marble work on the building.

Dicintio stayed in Newfoundland, married a Newfoundlander, and eventually established his own company, BD Ceramics. The couple had four children and are now proud grandparents and great-grandparents.

But Dicintio's connection to Italy remains strong, and the thought of a natural disaster there saddened him, said Betty.

"He was so upset by this," she said.

The couple visited L'Aquila three years ago, during their most recent trip to Italy. Betty said the area is beautiful and was dominated by many Romanesque, Gothic, baroque and Renaissance landmarks. She hates to think what the earthquake has done to the area.

"It's a real shame," she said.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Italy, Torbay, Pescara L'Aquila Adriatic Toronto St. John's Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Amazingly, the early breaking news items were most concerned about the damage the tremors might have on The Coliseum .....??!!

  • lisa
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    my father looks good talking about my family in ltaly .I am glad everybody is okay.

  • maria
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    My parents looks good on the front page of the paper. I am glad my family in Itlay are doing ok. I visited Dads home town about 4 years ago . Its is a very nice place. I was sadden of what happened to those people in Itlay after the quake. My thoughts and prayers are with eveyone in Itlay.

  • peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Amazingly, the early breaking news items were most concerned about the damage the tremors might have on The Coliseum .....??!!

  • lisa
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    my father looks good talking about my family in ltaly .I am glad everybody is okay.

  • maria
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    My parents looks good on the front page of the paper. I am glad my family in Itlay are doing ok. I visited Dads home town about 4 years ago . Its is a very nice place. I was sadden of what happened to those people in Itlay after the quake. My thoughts and prayers are with eveyone in Itlay.