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Some Storm-Ravaged S.I. Residents Say Rebuilding Not Worth Cost, Risk

Hundreds of Homes Set To Be Demolished In Areas Hit Hard By Superstorm
Demolition crews clean up dilapidated homes on Staten Island. (credit: Steve Sandberg, 1010 WINS).

Demolition crews clean up dilapidated homes on Staten Island. (credit: Steve Sandberg, 1010 WINS).

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city said it is preparing to demolish at least 200 homes across Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn that were severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The homes are expected to be bulldozed in the coming days. Inspectors said all the damage has left the homes with safety hazards.

The condemned homes have been marked with a red sticker, but Mayor Bloomberg said that does not mean they will all be razed.

“The number of houses out of even the 800 or 900 that got red stickers, we think it’s a lot less than half of that, could be only 200 or 300,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters on Monday, including WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell.

“That it’s really irrecoverable and they pose a risk of collapsing, not necessarily immediately, but they have to come down,” Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway told CBS 2′s John Slattery.

Demolishing homes is a process that will take weeks or even months.

Staten Island resident Noah Rosenblum literally came within an inch of losing his life as he fled the rising floodwaters along Father Capodanno Boulevard.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

Rosenblum told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg he is considering leaving by just picking up and going.  The fear, however, is the insurance check won’t make that possible.

“I know for personal property, the things they cover $2,100, which doesn’t even cover the cost of the TV we bought two months ago from Sears,” Rosenblum said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg Reports From Staten Island

Others in his South Beach neighborhood will likely leave, believing the damage is not worth the risk of repairing or rebuilding.

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Some residents on Sandy-ravaged Staten Island already say its not worth the cost and risk of rebuilding. (credit: Steve Sandberg, 1010 WINS)

“You gotta do the right thing. It’s sad to see people leave and lose their house, but that’s the best for all-around,” Rosenblum said.

Charlene Nickolan’s South Beach home had nine feet of water inside.  Somehow it’s still standing, but she wants it condemned.

“Everything inside destroyed and now full of like a black, toxic mold and is just, it’s awful,” Nickolan said.

In Nickolan’s mind, the home is a total loss and the home, she believes, should be leveled to the ground.

“I have a 3-and-a-half-year-old, I can’t move him in and out — he’s terrified, he has nightmares and I can’t bring him back here.  It’s not fair to him to live like this,” Nickolan.

Nickolan plans on selling and getting out.

Meanwhile, while demolition of unsafe homes is inevitable, some Breezy Point residents said the neighborhood will never be the same.

“The older bungalows are the ones that really got hit hard because the foundations couldn’t withstand the surge so they’re the ones that will most likely have to be replaced,” one man said. “It’s going to have a different look and feel of the place. It’s upsetting.”

There are 500 more homes that still have to be inspected. The demolition process is expected to take several months.

Clean up is also under way in another hard hit area along the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

Plumb Beach was devastated by the storm. Sandy wiped away bridges and footpaths leaving nothing but debris in its wake.

Some residents there said they still don’t have heat and hot water – three weeks after Sandy struck.

“It’s nuts,” one man said. “Nineteen days now. They’re going to put hot water on tomorrow finally.”

In areas where some residents have not even returned home, there is concern the city will bulldoze homes without informing the homeowners in advance. Mayor Bloomberg said that will be the rare exception, not the rule.

WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell reports

“The only houses we would bulldoze without talking to the owner is if it was in danger of falling down on people or the houses next door,” Bloomberg said.

Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday that the city is working hard to help residents whose homes were damaged in the storm.

For more information about getting your home fast-tracked for repairs, click here.