Coming To LBI Puts People "At Risk Of Being Arrested," Official Says
Police presence keeping people away from island, but it is to keep them safe, and away from health risks, coordinator says.
New Jersey State Police are now patrolling the bay between Manahawkin and Long Beach Island, so "anyone who should not be coming [to LBI] puts themselves at risk of being arrested," according to Beach Haven's Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator.
In an instant message interview last night, Beverly Tromm told Patch that she has been on the island with her husband, Bill, Beach Haven's emergency management coordinator, and others since the start of the storm.
"I got to my home today for the first time," Tromm said. "There is no electricity, no sewers, no water. There are major gas leaks here ."
It is these problems, among others, that led to police in Harvey Cedars issuing a statement that it would likely be at least 10 days before people could return to Long Beach Island.
Many points in Long Beach Island were swept over, with the bay and ocean waters meeting, particularly in the Holgate area. This has resulted in widespread disruption of utilities that vary in severity by geographic region, according to Harvey Cedars Police Chief Tom Preiser.
According to eyewitness accounts, Holgate, Loveladies, Harvey Cedars, North Beach, and Beach Haven, were hit hardest by the storm.
Similar to reported damage in sections of Stafford, numerous homes have sustained substantial damage, major beach erosion; and many roads are layered in "several feet of beach sand," Preiser said. Boil water alerts have been issued on Cedar Bonnet Island, due to low water pressure.
"We need to get our infrastructure up before we can let anyone here who is not essential to completing those tasks ," Tromm added. She said that is the reason for the police patrols along the bay, and for the delay in returns to LBI. "We can do our jobs easier and quicker if people would just get it that we will let them in when it is not a health risk, and when it is safe."
Tromm noted that the responders have been working 12 hours shifts, with short naps in between.
"A lot of us [who sent family to the mainland before the storm] are missing our kids," she wrote. "We have breakdowns from time to time, but then we take a few minutes, go get a deep breath of air, and come back in and do our job again, because we love this town, this island, and what we do ."
Editor's note: Tromm invited Patch to share this album, created by her son using photos from rescue responders in Beach Haven, which details some of the destruction left following the storm. She noted several requests have come in asking about specific homes, but she stressed that rescue responders are mainly concentrating on infrastructure issues, instead of individual homes at this time.