A family hoisted up in the bucket of a front loader gave a quick wave to neighbors after they were whisked from their home on Port Road.
A few blocks away, two men in a kayak – with a small puppy in tow – had just escaped flood waters the old fashioned way: paddling out.
Those types of stories played out over and over again Tuesday in Brick, where flooding barely receded after a wall of water came onshore in the hours following the landfall of Hurricane Sandy Monday night.
Joel Matos was inspecting neighbors’ homes near Port Road – the same street off Cherry Quay Road where two houses burnt down – and said he had never seen flooding like this before.
“Last night, everyone was moving their cars to the ball field,” he said. “Some people slept in their cars because their houses were full of water.”
It was impossible to access the Shore Acres section of town, even in a high-seated SUV.
Police used a squad car, a taxi cab and a school bus to block off a portion of Drum Point Road where live wires had fallen, filling the air with an acrid odor of burning electrical equipment.
Near the entrance to Shore Acres, an elderly woman was being led out of flood waters by an Ocean County Sheriff’s Department officer, who helped her wrap a blanket around her shoulders to keep warm while waiting to be evacuated to a shelter.
In the Baywood section, streets were completely underwater. One man, who did not give his name, said the bay had risen to three feet above the bulkhead behind his home. A massive dump truck driven into the neigborhood barely made it through the flood waters as it headed in the direction of Baywood Marina, its brake lights underwater by the time it turned the corner.
On the barrier island, officials said houses were still burning. Smoke was visible from across the bay. Firefighters had no way of accessing the island to fight the fires, however.
Traffic was chaotic across town, especially in the Herbertsville section, which was completely out of power.
Police put up cones at various intersections of Route 70, and other roads but some drivers ignored them and simply ran them over. Traffic was blocked from crossing the intersection of Route 70 and Route 88, however, largely preventing travel from one side of town to the other.
A pool of deep water blocked Old Hooper just west of the intersection with Mantoloking Road. On Mantoloking itself, the road was inaccessible east of Tilton Road.
Some stores were open, however. Long lines formed at the Burger King and KFC fast food restaurants on Brick Boulevard, and a massive line had formed at Costco’s gas station on Route 70.
Despite the stores choosing to open, police continued to urge residents to stay home, and a local state of emergency that banned unnecessary travel remained in place.