Berkeley Assures Residents, "We Are Here For You"
Berkeley mayor tours devastated sections of Glen Cove, Pelican Island and more
As Berkeley Township public works crews fed shattered boards and piles of debris into garbage trucks, Beverly Flynn was giving Mayor Carmen Amato a tour of the damage to her home.
"We got out like they told us to," Flynn said. "But now what do I do? We have nowhere to go."
Mud caked the floors of her small ranch home on Butler Boulevard, which flooded when Hurricane Sandy walloped New Jersey on Monday and Tuesday. The flood waters damaged the interior, wiping out renovations done after a fire had ravaged her home previously.
Even more damaging, however, were the boats that had come to rest in her front yard, the beam of one of them pushing into the front of the house.
"For a lot of people here, these are summer homes," she said, waving to the houses on either side of hers. "This is our home year-round."
Amato, who spent the afternoon touring devastated areas of Berkeley Township, promised Flynn -- and other residents he encountered on his tour -- that the township would do everything within its power to help them.
"We are here for you," Amato told Flynn as he gave her a hug.
That started with the public works trucks that Amato had sent to the Glen Cove section, pulled off their trash routes early in the day.
One public works employee said they were called early in the day and told to come help residents who were clearing flood-damaged belongings from their homes. residents like Christina and Michael Musto, who evacuated with their two small boys, Michael and Ethan.
"We've lost everything," Christina Musto said, as she and her husband loaded sodden toys and other belongings into trash bags.
"When they said get out, we got out," said Eunice Casabona, who has lived on Butler Boulevard since 1984. "I don't think anyone dreamed it would be this bad. "All of the furniture in the back of the house was pushed to the front. The refrigerator was on its side. The oven got moved two feet."
Amato said the devastation in Glen Cove was mirrored on Pelican Island, where homes were blown out by the winds and water. Amato, who toured Pelican Island and South Seaside Park with Berkeley Police Chief Karin DeMichele and Berkeley Police Officer Rip Bondulich, said comparitively South Seaside Park suffered less damage than what has been seen up the road in Ortley Beach.
"There is water damage and wind damage," Amato said, "but we got a little lucky there."
Amato said he will be asking the Township Council to waive permit fees for residents who are left to rebuild homes after the storm, for both demolition and construction.
"We want to do just basically anything we can to do, help with whatever we as a local government can control during this time of devastation," Amato said.
"The main thing is we got everybody out," Amato said. "As of today, there are no casualties (in Berkeley)."
While most residents of the Glen Cove section evacuated, down the road along Harbor Inn Road, many stayed, and witnessed a storm like none they'd ever seen.
Chris Madden said she and husband Steve shoved a sofa against their front door as the flood waters rose to keep the door shut.
"It (the water) was really loud, banging on the door," she said. "The sofa saved the door."
Theresa Hardie, who lives next door, said she watched the water rise, then fall.
"Then it came back with a vengeance," she said.
She and the Maddens watched as the storm threw a 42-foot boat off its moorings, sending it floating down the street in front of their homes.
"It was surreal," Hardie said. Chris Madden said if not for the utility pole the boat, the Lady J, came to rest against, they would have had the pulpit -- the metal frame at the top of the boat -- come through their front windows.
The boat's owners, Kathleen and Jim Allen, said Sandy whipped waves against their windows, but didn't realize their boat had gone floating.
"A neighbor said there was a boat in the middle of the street," Kathleen Allen said, "and I said, 'Oh, I wonder whose boat that is.' "
"We triple-lined it with snubbers," she said, pointing to the dock straight ahead of her home. She said estimates to move it off the road were at least $20,000.
Jane Hobaugh said she had just finished remodeling the kitchen of her Harbor Inn Road home when Sandy hit.
"So much for my brand new kitchen," she said. "But at least we're all still here."
Amato said the township will help residents connect with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as soon as possible, to help them get the aid and assistance they need.
"We will be here for them, whatever is needed," Amato said.