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Thursday, December 18, 2014

L.B. Emergency workers are on the job ‘day and night’
(Page 2 of 3)
Bill Kelly/Herald
A fire in the Canals during Hurricane Sandy destroyed eight homes and put a number of Fire Department vehicles out of commission.

Long Beach also remained under a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. “We are still enforcing the curfew,” Cregeen said. “We’re going to take that as it comes, and see how many residents can come back when the power comes back on. I think that will have the biggest bearing on when we can lift that curfew. But a lot of these houses are uninhabitable.”

Cregeen and other emergency workers said they were working “day and night,” responding to calls reporting fires and other emergencies.

Many fire and Police Department vehicles were damaged in the storm. Other departments loaned the city emergency vehicles, and a fleet of ambulances were stationed at the bus depot, transporting patients to either South Nassau Communities Hospital or the Nassau University Medical Center. The city was also receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Guard, and state and Nassau County police, with everything from coordinating gas station lines to patrols.

With no word on when the Long Beach Medical Center would open again after it sustained major flood damage — the Komanoff Center, which had less damage, was expected to resume services soon — the city established a federally staffed temporary hospital at the Recreation Center’s baseball field.

NICE buses were providing transportation to shelters from the bus depot for hot showers, and a warming station was being planned for the train station on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the days after the storm, search-and-rescue teams conducted door-to-door searches. One city official, who declined to be identified, said that there were five non-storm-related deaths in the first few days after Hurricane Sandy, mostly elderly residents.

“We had urban search-and-rescue teams — they were here in the beginning, knocking on doors and making sure if anyone needs help,” the official said, adding that a number of vehicles were damaged responding to fires in the Canals during the storm. “We had multiple major fires during the storm itself, including a fire that took out eight houses in the Canals. The Fire Department lost a fleet of fire engines and trucks, and now they have out-of-town and upstate trucks helping out.”

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