Long Beach hit hard by Sandy

Posted at: 11/01/2012 12:09 PM
Updated at: 11/01/2012 12:11 PM
By: Benita Zahn

LONG BEACH, N.Y. - One of the hardest hit areas in New York is Long Beach, Long Island in Nassau County.

It’s home to more than 33,000 people. All are without power and water and it's not clear when those services will return.

The devastation anywhere on Long Island is just horrific,” long time Red Cross employee, Craig Cooper said. “From any community you go to, it is beyond belief.”

Cooper is no stranger to disasters, but what he's seeing on Long Island -- particularly in Long Beach, a seaside community not far from the city line -- has him rocked.

The storm surge, combined with high winds, buried the community in sand, soaked homes and took out windows, walls and trees.

Now, residents are trying to craft a plan that will get them through the next few tomorrows.

“I don’t think words really but it into perspective,” Long Beach resident Ian Cuttler said. “I’ve been living in this town for 30 years, this island I should say, and never have I seen devastation like this before.”

As troubling as the damage is the lingering fear of fire. Many buildings have garages inside and the damaged cars are leaking gas. The stench of the fuel hits you as you walk by.

Fire crews, some from as far away as Delaware County, are clearing buildings and securing propane and other fuel tanks.

Gov. Cuomo got a first hand look at the situation -- walking the streets of Long Beach and talking to residents who want to know when power will be restored.

That's a tough call as so many states suffered at Sandy's hands that power crews are in short supply. So frustration is growing.

“My only advice is number one, it could have been worse. We lost 26 New Yorkers in this storm,” the governor said.

The Red Cross plans on surveying the damage in the next day or two. They're going to bring in support services including food and mental health workers.

The folks here will need it because seeing this damage day in and day out is tough to take.