News

Seaside Heights Residents Finally See Sandy Devastation: ‘It’s All Gone’

Armed With Suitcases, They Hoped To Pack Them, But Some Had Nothing Left
Seaside Heights Sandy damage

A traffic light hangs precariously in Seaside Heights, N.J. on Nov. 9, 2012. (Photo: CBS 2)

Superstorm Sandy

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Friday marked 11 days since Superstorm Sandy decimated the Tri-State Area — and for residents in the most heavily impacted areas it’s not getting any easier.

Some Seaside Heights families went back to their homes Friday, and what they found left them in tears, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

The iconic boardwalk was demolished, Sloan reported. Part of a roller coaster was spared, but the rest was in the ocean.

For the first time residents got to come back to their homes and for many it was heartbreaking. They got on buses with just two suitcases and were told to pack them only with essential things.

“None of us know what is to be when we get there,” one resident said.

When they got there, what they saw was overwhelming, witnessing for the first time what nature’s wrath had done to their homes.

“My stuff is gone,” Colleen Kamil said. “Everything is knocked over … furniture moved … My kids’ toys are all gone. No toys left … Nothing … It’s all gone.”

There was nothing in Kamil’s water-logged home to put in suitcases, just some change in a jar and pictures of their sons.

“How can I tell my kids their home’s destroyed? Like, this is how I tell them nothing’s left. My heart is breaking … just breaking,” Kamil said.

Up the street, Todd Grandy was heartbroken, too.

“It’s pretty devastating. I have photo albums down there. I haven’t looked yet … from when I was little,” Grandy said.

Grandy and the Kamil’s have spent most of their lives on the barrier island. Like most of the others, the storms made them refugees from the community they love.

“Where do I begin?  How do I start all over now?” Kamil wondered.

“We have friends and God with us,” her husband, Ilter, added.

That is what they have learned: Through this tragedy, people are there for them.

“You have me forever. I will help you with everything,” one neighbor told Colleen Kamil.

CBS 2’s Sloan was told the damage she saw was nothing compared to the devastation on the north end of town. Residents won’t be allowed back there until Tuesday.

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