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ORTLEY BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some Jersey Shore residents did not heed mandatory evacuation warnings, and chose to ride out Superstorm Sandy instead.
But as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Tuesday, when the storm hit the shoreline, many of the residents called 911 appealing for help.
The 911 calls were released exclusively to CBS 2 from the Toms River Police Department. Many came from Ortley Beach, an area that was devastated by the storm.
One woman was worried about her pets.
Dispatcher: “Do you have a second floor in your house?
Caller: “Yes, I am in the attic.”
Dispatcher: “How many people are in the house?
Caller: “There’s six animals and two adults.”
The resident who made the call had ignored mandatory evacuation orders and was staying in her home as Sandy swept through the community, demolishing homes and caving in streets.
Another caller lived in a ranch house, and getting to a higher level to avoid flood waters was not an option.
Caller: “I am getting water in the house it’s coming up through the crawl space and I’ve got a heart condition and pacemaker. Can somebody come up here?”
Dispatcher: “Just try and go to the highest point in the house, and we’ll try and get out to you.”
Caller: “I don’t have a highest point. I’m on a ranch.”
Dispatcher: “Do you have an attic?”
Caller: “No I can’t get up to the attic.”
The dispatchers, the Police Department and emergency crews worked tirelessly and were able to get everyone out. No one was hurt and the pets were also rescued.
During an exclusive ride-through in Ortley Beach, CBS 2 saw collapsed homes and a boardwalk that had been reduced to a bare wooden structure, along with dozens of sinkholes and a burned out car.
Many of the calls also came from Toms River, where the evacuations were only advisory.
“Pretty much, our houses are wiped out, and we left. We vacated out and stayed at the Pier One motel,” a caller said.
Dispatcher Maggie Russell was working that night. She said she could hear residents banging on their rooftops.
“It was emotionally frustrating,” she said. “We want to tell that we’re going to do everything we can to help, but we don’t know what we can do to help.”
Another couple fled Ortley Beach, and the only item left afterward was a menorah. Their house was washed clear into the ocean.
“It’s gone,” said Eric DeClerk. “There’s nothing left. Zero.”
Ortley Beach residents as of Tuesday still had not been allowed back into their homes. The streets and collapsed structures were simply too dangerous.
But town officials were trying to see if they could let them in on Wednesday on a supervised visit.
Do you have a story of your experience during Superstorm Sandy? Please leave your comments below…