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Residents Allowed To Drive Into Storm-Ravaged Seaside Heights

Rescue workers gather around a house wrecked by Superstorm Sandy on October 31, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Rescue workers gather around a house wrecked by Superstorm Sandy on October 31, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Superstorm Sandy

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Seaside Heights residents and property owners are being allowed to drive into town for the first time since Superstorm Sandy walloped the Jersey shore.

Mayor Bill Akers said the town will be open until 3 p.m. for residents to assess damage and retrieve property.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports


John Ward returned Monday to find his family’s home ripped from its foundation.

“The chimney fell,” he said. “Water actually tore out the foundation.”

“There’s mold everywhere,” said one woman who also returned to see her house Monday. “It looked like it was in the ocean. Things that were so heavy were just pushed back — it’s unbelievable.”

The traffic lights in the town aren’t working and many street signs are missing. Motorists will face arrest if they attempt to enter Ortley Beach or Seaside Park.

Last week, some residents were taken by bus into Seaside Heights and other shore communities, including Toms River and Long Beach Township, to retrieve property. Residents had an hour to grab what they could before being taken back off the islands.

On Sunday, police escorted Ortley Beach residents back into the community. In many cases, the first floor of two-story homes was washed away, leaving nothing but a shell and an upstairs.

“We saw pictures. We were hoping to prepare ourselves, to have an idea of what to expect, but I don’t think it could prepare for when you see in person,” said one resident.

Damage in Ortley Beach is so extreme, inspectors had to decide ahead of time which homes were safe for residents to return to.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)