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Sandy's destruction raises question: What is irreplaceable?

What in your life is irreplaceable? NBC News' David Friedman asked himself that question again and again as he worked in debris-strewn Breezy Point the last two days. The neighborhood was devastated by a fire that ripped through more than 100 homes the night Hurricane Sandy struck.

All images by David Friedman / NBC News

Items lay among the burned and flooded homes in Breezy Point, N.Y., on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Is it your child's first bike? Your wife's pottery? An engagement ring? After speaking with residents taking stock of their destroyed homes in the borough of Queens, New York City, Friedman kept hearing the same answer -- "Community."

The houses in the "Wedge" sit close together, proximity prompted by the geography of the narrow barrier island. That same closeness that helped the fire have such reach also fostered a closeness in the community that some residents fear they won't be able to replace. Community is something that no amount of government assistance or insurance payouts can deliver.

Many other residents say that a hurricane can't take away what they had. "We're strong. We're going to come back" was a refrain Friedman heard again and again.

More stories about Breezy Point:

More photos from Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath of the storm

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