At Least 10 Days Before Return to LBI, Police Say
Stafford police asking people to call 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
A day after Hurricane Sandy passed through the area, Stafford Police were asking that people call 9-1-1 to reach them, as downed power lines shorted their communication systems, and police in Harvey Cedars noted it would likely be at least 10 days before people could return to Long Beach Island.
"We're asking people to call 9-1-1 if they need us, and please emergency calls only," Lt. Tom Dellane told Patch at the emergency operations center in the Stafford Township municipal complex today. "We have no telephone lines, no electricity," Dellane said, around 1 p.m. today.
A utility crew could be seen a short while later tryinf to restore lines around the building, which is located in the center of town.
Mayor John Spodofora, who was also at the emergency operation center, noted that township police were still in a "search and rescue" mode, although he noted the anyone that had called requesting assistance had been evacuated to the Southern Regional evacuation center.
Dellane agreed, adding that police and county officials were using boats to reach people and make sure that no one that needed assistance remained in the Beach Haven West section, especially in the areas of Jennifer Lane, which he described as "under water."
Spodofora called the rescue response "phenomenal," but said he was very concerned about the damage throughout the township and Long Beach Island. "There is lots of property damage," Spodofora said. "We're going to lose lots of homes in Beach Haven West."
Throughout the township, downed power lines and trees could be seen just about everywhere, from Ocean Acres to Beach haven West. Traffic lights were not functioning on Route 72 around 2 p.m. today.
Spodofora said he was on LBI briefly this morning, and noted "there is water everywhere."
As of last night, Harvey Cedars police were reporting certain areas where the bay had met the ocean.
In a statement on their Facebook page today, Harvey Cedars posted: "no return to LBI for anyone for at least 10 days, possibly longer. Roadways are dangerous and impassable power out. Wash overs all over LBI."
Spodofora noted it would likely be "days" before evacuees could return from Stafford to their LBI homes. Dellane said that some of the water in Beach Haven West had started to recede this morning, but he noted there were still areas where the water rose several feet.
Spodofora said he has not received any reports of injuries during the rescue, but noted he was happy to hear that two patrolmen who were injured when a transformer blew in town yesterday are better today.
The officers, identified by Dellane as Patrolman Joe Parker and Richard O'Hagan, were injured when a transformer exploded near McKinley Avenue. Both men are "doing great," today, Spodofora said.