East Rockaway reeling from Sandy
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“Our high watermark [in the village] was unprecedented,” said Mayor Francis Lenahan, adding that the East Rockaway Department of Public Works, the East Rockaway Public Library and the Recreation Center all took in water, and were closed until further notice. “They all had water damage.” The Village Hall grounds and Memorial Park are being used as a station for the DPW vehicles. Lenahan said that damage to these places can’t be estimated right now, and that the village engineer is assessing the damage. “We can’t thank the first responders enough,” said Lenahan. “All four chiefs, and Auxiliary Police Chief Diane LauKaitis were all on duty the whole time.”
FEMA assistance was requested and arrived, and the Main Street firehouse became — and is — a distribution center for meals, water and supplies. Through social networking and grassroots effort, many volunteers came to help out, making it a distribution and pickup center for food, water and needed supplies. As of Sunday, Nov. 11, the location will change to the Bethany Congregational Church, 100 Main St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As of press time on Tuesday, homes south of Main Street and part of Atlantic Avenue were still without power.
East Rockaway Fire Department
Since Monday, October 29, the members of the East Rockaway have been doing what they were sworn to do — protect the residents and property of East Rockaway — and they have been doing it around the clock. They answered an unprecendented amount of calls during Hurricane Sandy, and for days afterward.
According to Chief Steven Torborg, many of the members have lost their homes and property themselves and yet their focus remains to protect others from harm. They had assistance from neighboring towns which were not so affected, such as Hicksville and East Meadow Fire Departments. Unionville Fire Department located two hours north of New York City, came with an engine and supplies. “Many of these firefighters left their families for days just to help their brothers and sisters in the firematic world,” said Torborg. After five days here, they have been replaced with members of the Harrison Fire Department.