Residents: Long Beach Island looks like 'war zone'

LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J. - October 31, 2012

One resident describes it as a war zone.

"War zone, a war zone," said Geri Lutz. "It's going to take years to get this back in shape again."

The power of the ocean ripped through beachfront homes, destroying some and knocking others off their foundations.

"The whole bottom of the house is out. The decks are gone. The house across the street came right off the pilings and there's no foundation, no nothing," said one resident who wanted to be identified as Steve.

"It always looked beautiful, I mean wow. Now it looks like these homes are not livable anymore," said Geri.

There is no power, no water, no sewer or gas. In fact some parts of the island reek from the smell of gas escaping from snapped lines.

Long Beach Boulevard is still flooded from the high tide, damaging several businesses.

It is too early to tell the cost estimates of damage, but the mayor says number will be mind boggling.

"On LBI, we have $5.5 billion dollars in tax-rateable on the island. Probably five to ten percent of that value is gone," said Mayor Joseph Mancini.

Stafford Township across from Long Beach Island is also devastated. The causeway along Route 72 is littered with boats and that's not all.

"I have actually seen motorcycles washed out to the middle of the street, sheds, boats are all over the place; they are in trees. There's just so much damage, it's hard to describe," said Stafford Township Mayor John Spadaforo.

Officials say because of conditions there no one should expect to get back on Long Beach Island before Saturday.

In the aftermath of Sandy, the mayor of Ocean City, New Jersey said it is not safe to be on the island community.

Because of the dangers still present, Mayor Jay Gillian announced that no one would be let into Ocean City on Tuesday.

He went on to say officials were very early in the process of evaluating the damage, and it will take time to go through the eight-mile island.

Heavy winds knocked down power lines, uprooted trees and destroyed the steps that led to the beach. Sandy ripped apart several of the dunes meant to protect Ocean City's north end beaches.

During a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Gillian said "We're going to be dealing with this for many days to come."

He noted that there are wires down throughout the city. There is also widespread flooding which is filled with debris and other hazardous items.

He then listed the major damage from the storm, which included major beach erosion, high water in homes, structural damage, lost bulkheads and docks, water damage to the firehouses and no power at the high school.

Gillian also said the business district was "devastated" and owners are going to need "a lot of help."

Gillian says there were gas leaks when several homes shifted off their foundations.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

There is no school on Wednesday in Ocean City, and trick-or-treating is postponed.

Areas prone to flooding, like 5th and West, were still underwater on Tuesday.

The main thoroughfare of Ocean Drive, which takes drivers from Ocean City to the Longport Causeway, is covered in debris and was impassable.

On Asbury Avenue, long-time shops and business saw flood waters rise high. The mud lines left behind could still be seen.

The employees of the 7th Street Surf Shop, who remained on the island, returned on Tuesday morning to a mess inside.

"I was kind of freaking because it meant the surfboards were floating," said Jamie Dimagiao. "The owner of the building was trying to calm me down, but I still think it's kind of a big deal."

Police are discouraging people from being on the boardwalk, saying it is not safe to be up there.

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