SANDY HERE AND GONE
by Carolyn James
Steve Juliano, the assistant director of the Village’s Office of Emergency Management said that Village employees and volunteers had been busy evacuating people and assessing the damage.
“Our concern is for electric and fire hazards and ensuring that people are safe,” said Juliano who sat in Village Hall working with the communications network and watching the rise of high tide. “We are just asking that people stay safe and be patient,” he said.
In Babylon Village, Mayor Ralph Scordino sat in Village Hall Tuesday morning. The lights were out but the phones were working. One of the calls he got was from a woman in California who had been unable to reach her son who lived in Babylon Village.
“We sent a code enforcement down there; he was fine and we called her back and let her know,” said Scordino.
The Mayor, together with Babylon Fire Department volunteers, code enforcement and highway and emergency management personnel were working frantically to address the hundreds of calls that were coming in about trees being down, flooding, fires and other emergencies.
On Trask Lane a call about a house fire there went out about 9:20 p.m., Monday night. Babylon firefighters, assisted by North Babylon, Wyandanch and North Amityville, responded and were working in waist-deep water attempting to put the blaze out. They worked for more than two and a half hours according to 1st Ass’t Chief Michael Sasuk.
“We had trouble with access and could not get down there,” said Susak. “At one point the village crews had to come in with a payloader to get some equipment out.”
Sasuk said the residents were not at home at the time the fire started and that there were no major injuries. “The volunteers just suffered from exhaustion,” he said.
Water from Sumpwams Creek and the other local streams overflowed spilling into streets. At a low point on Montauk Highway at Route 231, flooding slowed down traffic and trapped some vehicles.
Scordino was on the phone with LIPA trying to determine a schedule, if any, for bring back power, but the message was the same: “We are telling everyone at least five to 7 days,” said one LIPA representative.
In Lindenhurst, it was all hands on deck at Village Hall where employees there fielded hundreds of calls about trees being down and power outages.
“We estimate that we have several hundred trees down and about 90 percent of our residents are without power,” said Village Administrator Sean Cullinane. “At this point we are out assessing things. What we know right now is that we have lots of streets under water in the south part of the Village and there is major damage.”
Cullinane said the Lindenhurst Fire Department received numerous calls for rescue and fires and were out most of the night.
The Village also got a call from the S.C. Sheriff’s Office and is sending in crews from the jail to help with some of the cleanup and rescue work.
Supervisor Rich Schaffer and Babylon Town Officials are continue to coordinate with the mayors of Babylon, Lindenhurst and Amityville villages, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Red Cross, the local fire departments and LIPA to respond to the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.
As of 1 p.m., today:
- The Town of Babylon has seen massive amounts of flooding and damage from Hurricane Sandy. Residents who live in the Evacuation Zone (South of Montauk Highway and the Barrier Beaches) are urged to stay out of the zone until further notice, as there are still large amounts of flooding. Venturing back into the Evacuation Zone creates a dangerous situation for you, your family and the Town's first responders.
- If there is a tree or limb down in your street, please call the Town of Babylon at 311 or 957-TOWN (957-8696).
- For electricity issues, residents should call LIPA at 1-800-490-0075 <tel:1-800-490-0075> . Residents should never touch a downed wire. Assume all wires are LIVE, no matter what it looks like.
- The Red Cross shelter at at Robert Frost Middle School, 450 Half Hollow Road Deer Park NY 11729 is still operational and is still accepting people.
- Supervisor Rich Schaffer has announced that the Town of Babylon is setting up 2 cell phone charging stations for residents who need to repower their electronic devices. The locations are: Babylon Town Hall (200 East Sunrise Highway, Lindenhurst) and the Babylon Town Hall Annex (281 Phelps Lane, North Babylon). Residents should bring their power cables with them.
- Residents with non-emergency concerns should call the Town of Babylon at 311 or 957-TOWN (957-8696). The Town has increased the amount of personnel answering calls.