Ortley Beach resident: Complete and total devastation

November 15, 2012 7:52:17 AM PST
Ortley Beach is what local officials are calling ground zero for Sandy.

The superstorm washed away dozens of homes and damaged or destroyed many others.

Residents are in town today to get their first look at the damage.

"I lost everything. My things. My daughter's things. Everything is flipped over, upside down," resident Tracy Reina said.

It was painful for Ortley Beach residents to see what the storm did to their town, where roughly 90% of the 2,400 homes here have some kind of damage.

"And people have just started redoing some of their houses here and the fronts are missing, bottom floors are missing," Linda Paliotta of Westampton said.

Mark Rossi stepped through the debris that's now surrounded their house on Railway Avenue.

"It's a straight run right in off the ocean, we have nothing blocking us so all the water came right down," Rossi said.

John Testa surveyed the damage in his yard and the house where he grew up and describes it this way ? "complete and total devastation and destruction. Just a total loss."

Residents were brought in on buses today and were allowed only at their homes with special identification.

There's a heavy police presence for safety and to prevent looting.

"We have to have security at night so that nobody comes on and enters and takes from these victims who have already been victimized," Toms River Police Chief Mike Mastronardy said.

While her neighbors dragged ruined items out to the curb, Carol Sorrentino hung a banner from her second story balcony reading " Sandy, we'll be back" to send a message to everyone.

"We're going to be back. We know it. It'll be a little bit of hard work, but we're not gonna let the storm beat us down. We're going to rebuild and it'll be nicer than ever," Sorrentino said.

So far the residents of the devastated beachfront area have not been allowed back in. The authorities say that will happen in the next five days.


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