Ortley Beach re-entry is now in its second day and residents who returned to their homes during the initial day say they were not prepared for what Hurricane Sandy left behind. Now, they’re offering advice to their neighbors who will continue returning over the next few days to the small barrier island community that was so devastated by Hurricane Sandy it was dubbed “Ground Zero.” Until Wednesday, only photos and videos of Ortley Beach were available to residents who’ve been locked out for more than two weeks. But those, returning residents agree, was nothing compared to what they saw with their own eyes.
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In a Facebook post on the popular and informative site Jersey Shore Hurricane News, residents shared their re-entry experiences after returning to Ortley Beach for the first time since Sandy. “Please be prepared because the devastation is overwhelming. Words cannot describe what you will see. One small example is that we found a full size piano in our rear yard, which did not originate from any of our neighbors in close proximity,” one man writes.
Others suggest returning residents arm themselves not just emotionally, but physically with masks, boots, gloves, water proof clothing, and lots of cleaning supplies. “Most important is to rip out all drywall and insulation that was wet. Most moist furniture must go. Metal items can be wiped down with a mold spray. Avoid bleach and use the mold spray from (Home Depot) or Lowes,” Carolyn Suess, who is certified in mold, suggests.
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Others tell of the progress and work being made in Ortley Beach. “They have made great strides is cleaning the streets. Some of the roads are still covered in dirt, and it is still a sad scene,” Theresa Robins shares. “Going in I felt like I was entering Fort Knox and a war zone at the same time. Security was very tight and it was comforting knowing they were there watching and willing to help. I was very impressed by the organization and friendliness of all those involved…I felt a true sense of community from perfect strangers. It just goes to show how strong Jersians are,” Tara Bara said to the tune of 75 Facebook “likes.”
Ortley Beach re-entry continues through at least Monday, although property access details have only been given through Friday as of this publishing.