Anthony’s Pizzeria on Mill Creek Road was packed with contractors, people using every machine in the laundromat next door and residents and home owners taking a lunch break from cleaning and gutting their houses on Tuesday.
Huck’s Hometown Market next door on Mill Creek Road was packed with people seeking coffee, sandwiches, water and mostly anything they had in stock, attesting to the fact the recovery of Beach Haven West was already in full swing.
Outside, I saw vans and trucks for plumbers, electricians, carpet cleaners and just about every other type of contractor you could imagine as I went for my coffee and lottery tickets, needing the former and hoping the latter would end my homelessness.
When I got to Walter Boulevard like most every other street it had mountains of furniture, mattresses, televisions and all the things that make a house a home piled up at the curb. There was also one of dozens of dumpsters provided by Stafford Township at the corner by Roslyn, already over flowing with debris.
Turing on Gas and Power Update
Township building inspectors were going door-to-door to assess the condition of electrical service, placing white stickers on doors of homes approved to get turned back on and red ones on those that will require work such as replacing submerged panel boxes.
Mayor John Spodofora said the township had brought in inspectors from other towns to speed up the process. “We want to get power back on safely to everyone we possibly can and let others know what they need to have done to get it back,” he said.
“But inspectors have to be able to access the home,” he said. Once inspected the red stickers will detail what damage was observed, he said. If it simply says “Unoccupied” the homeowner should call the building department to have them come out again, but someone must be there to let them in, said the Mayor.
Dave Smith, from Dave’s Electric was already out assessing his clients’ damage and scheduling repairs. “Right now, I’m getting to folks as soon as they call, but I’m sure to be backed-up soon,” he said. “People should call as soon as they know,” added Smith
Parked along Jennifer Drive, Smith said he saw just about every house on Mark Drive had a red sticker as well as most homes build on slabs or low foundations in the area.
Township officials had earlier said any home whose interior had flooded more than three feet would get a red sticker and the electric meter removed until repaired and inspected.
Across the street on Joshua Drive, New Jersey Natural Gas crews were swapping out exterior gas meter regulators on every home that had been submerged.
“This is just from two blocks, Mark and Joshua,” said one worked pointing to the bed of a work truck filled with regulators.
Spodofora said there is no clear timeline for turning on the gas as of yet due to current nor’easter and how much it delays the process.
“Homes will need to be turned on one at a time,” he said. People should exercise extreme caution once their gas is returned. ”They should immediately call if the smell gas, but would be wise to have any appliances or furnaces checked out before using them,” said the mayor.
Cleaning Up And Removing Debris
Stafford Public Works crews were out in force tackling the ton of refuse at the curb. A two-man team was canvassing the area loading TVs, computers and other recyclable and hazardous electronics onto their truck. There were at least 100 televisions in the back of their truck as they added a few more across from my house.
Regular garbage trucks were working in tandem out on the end of Mill Creek with two and three-man teams. Workers needed to tear open the large black contractor bags to ensure there were no hazardous or dangerous items inside.
“We found paint cans, gas cans all sorts of stuff we need to put to the side, as well as the TVs and electronics,” said one employee.
Officials ask that all hazardous items and electronic be set aside for the DPW crews to speed up the clean up.
Also only dispose of food items in your garbage cans for the automated truck to pick up, as well use you blue cans for recyclables.
There was a lot of work, but spirits were high. One crew had found a huge stuffed teddy bear and attached it to the side of the truck as an unofficial mascot.
Private contractors with scoop and bucket loaders could be seen on many streets loading the carpet, wood and other items from gutted homes in dumpsters that were being hauled away when full and replaced as quickly as possible.
Clean up efforts are ongoing despite being hampered by the current weather.