Seaside Heights and Ortley Beach

After finishing work on the bridge, the guys moved onto the barrier island. They spent several days in the Seaside Heights area, then moved north to Ortley Beach.

One of the texts he sent me was “the damage is unreal, never seen anything like it.” Here he is under what used to be the boardwalk:

There is sand everywhere and it’s littered with debris.

Another view of the destruction:

Today was the first day that residents had been allowed back into Ortley Beach to survey the damage to their homes. The guys had some downtime waiting to move equipment to the next location, when they noticed a couple struggling to removed water-soaked carpeting and furniture from their condo. Not one to sit around when there is work to be done, Rudy said “lets go help them”. Not only did they help that couple, but they removed stuff from all 6 of the units in that building. The residents were very appreciative and tried to give them money, the contents of a liquor cabinet, etc., but of course they said no.

There was another couple who’s home was destroyed. Rudy had heard the woman crying earlier, obviously upset over the state of her home, yet she came over and offered the guys bottled water. She told him she had lived there since she was a teenager, and now she no longer had a home. Here I am 1500 miles away and I was getting choked up just hearing him tell me the stories.

Something I hadn’t thought about – after 2 weeks of homes being water-logged and no electricity to run refrigerators and keep food from spoiling, Rudy said the smell was getting really bad. And many people were wearing masks since mold growth could cause health problems.

I found a video made by a resident of Ortley Beach. I want Rudy to watch it when he gets home to see if he recognizes anything.

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Finally Getting Down to Work

So I found out that the ‘man camp’ was set up as a staging & hospitality site for the utility workers, but will now be used as shelter for displaced area residents:

Tent City at Racetrack Now Housing Evacuees from Toms River

Unfortunately, it sounds like the conditions there are less than ideal:

Bitter cold inside a disaster shelter

When I spoke to Rudy Weds. night, he was sitting in the lobby of his hotel, and he said it was non-stop linemen/electricians/other workers, checking in from all over the country. He heard they had reserved around 150 rooms in that hotel alone.

The winter storm dumped about 10″ of snow where Rudy is working. Their equipment will be housed in Toms River, but they will be working on the barrier island east of there. If you saw the photos of the mangled roller coaster sitting in the ocean, that is Seaside Heights. He worked in that area on Thurs.

Many of the people who live on the island have not been able to return yet to see the damage to their homes. They are starting to bus them in for a few hours to retrieve important personal items.

Here is a really interesting website with interactive aerial photos of before and after Sandy of various places on the New York & New Jersey coastlines. If you drag your mouse from right to left over the photo you will see the changes:

Huffington Post Photos

It might take a while for the images on the site to load, but I thought it was worth the wait.

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