The amazing volunteers in Oceanside and Island Park
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Even while the streets of Island Park were flooding, the IPFD was responding to calls. They were going out up until the height of the storm. The fire house flooded too, destroying some of the trucks. But after the storm, the men and women of the IPFD were back on the streets.
In the days after the storm, they went house to house doing search and rescue to make sure everyone in the community was safe. They’ve been working nonstop, and just recently went door to door again, this time doing the electrical inspections that LIPA should have been doing (and probably doing a better job of it, too). They’ve been sleeping on cots in a cold building every day. Their own homes and possessions were destroyed in the flood, yet they are still out there working for the community.
The people in Oceanside have been no less impressive.
One of the elementary schools in Oceanside also isn’t operational, yet the school district managed to figure out how to get all 400 of the students from School 8 to School 6 every day for class. That is no small feat.
At the rally the school district held on Nov. 9, Superintendent Dr. Herb Brown perfectly summarized the frustrations of Oceanside. “We are starting school for 450 kids on Tuesday at another location, School 6,” he said. “If you think that’s an easy thing to do, try it some day. We’re doing that, and LIPA can’t turn on one light? They can’t turn on one traffic light? They can’t turn on our homes?”
Once Oceanside High School got power back, it became a refuge for the community. People have been coming to the school for hot meals and warm place to stay. Now that the school has officially reopened, it’s staying open later, giving students a warm place to study and also allowing them to use the computers. And after school, students can use the showers in the varsity locker rooms.
The Oceanside Fire Department was also responding to calls the day of the storm as long as it could. It actually lost a truck trying to get to a call during the hurricane.