By Robin Rieger
BRICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (CBS) – Paul Appio and his family are celebrating a permanent return to their home in the Brick Township section of the barrier island over the Mantoloking Bridge.
“We’re one of the fortunate ones back here because of the structure of the house,” he says.
Appio rebuilt his home higher a few years ago, but it still took on wind and water damage during Hurricane Sandy.
“[There’s] all new duct work, new insulation underneath, new shingles on the roof…”
Not far from where Appio’s home stands intact, others have brought it to the ground. Police Chief Rick Bergquist says 180 of the 1300 homes here are destroyed, including about 100 cottages that burned. He says the year-round residents that number 200 to 300 can now live in their homes.
But “they have to have power…they have [to have] gas heat, water and their sewer system operational,” Bergquist explains.
As the repopulation and work continues, he says a new curfew will keep pedestrians off the streets between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. The beaches will remain closed because of debris and sinkholes.
Appio commends the police department, which will also add patrols as it eliminates checkpoints, bringing residents who can come back one step closer to normal.
As for Appio, “There’s no place like home, no place like the Jersey shore,” he says.