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LBI Residents Take Stock Of The Damage After Sandy

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By Robin Rieger

LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ (CBS) – Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge went right through some oceanfront Beach Haven homes.

Anthony Martinelli described what the waves took from his home, and said he was grateful to get on the island Monday, along with hundreds of other LBI residents who lined up on Route 72 for hours.

“There was a deck wrapped around the house,” said Martinelli, as he pointed out a hanging stairway on the landing space.

Decks that used to wrap around many homes like his sat in piles of debris. Sand piles looked like snow; it was too bad it just couldn’t melt away.

“It’s devastation, it’s destroyed…everything’s destroyed,” said an emotional Valerie Zak.

Live bait tanks were wiped out at her Oceanside bait and tackle shop, where dead eels littered the floor. Her apartment upstairs is now uninhabitable.

“When I walked in, I just started crying. There’s no hot water, no heat and the smell from the mildew and the bait…it’s too bad,” Zak explained.

“I think I’m still in shock,” said Cassandra Mitchell. She believes her Beach Haven home is a total loss, along with her family’s furniture and numerous treasured items.

“This house probably has to be torn down, the floors are buckling. Three feet of our walls were ripped out because the mold was starting to grow already,” Mitchell said.

Police and National Guard patrols continue on the island as officials hope another looming threat doesn’t undue work that’s been done on power and gas lines and even on the beaches.

“We have another major Nor’easter coming in tomorrow night. And as of right now, I understand we are going to have fifty knot winds and another eight foot of water surge,” said Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini.

Residents who came to the island on Monday are now expected to leave. Officials say a lack of utilities and debris still on some roads makes conditions dangerous. With less traffic, utility crews can do more. A 6 p.m. through 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect.

Officials says no residents will be permitted to drive onto the island Tuesday. They’re hoping to open the island to all on Friday or Saturday.

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