Much of Silverton Under Water, East Dover Firehouse Evacuates, Toms River Flooded with Emergencies
Barrier island homes reportedly crumble from ocean waves
Don't go out. Stay in your homes.
Toms River Office of Emergency Management Director Paul Daley urged residents to stay sheltered indoors as the township grapples with major flooding, widespread loss of power, innumerable fallen trees, pockets of fire and constant calls for rescue in an extreme emergency situation.
"We are in survival mode," Daley said.
Toms River had nearly 1,800 calls for help overnight, with a bulk of the emergencies coming after midnight Tuesday from Hurricane Sandy.
"Silverton is under water," Daley said. "You can assume all roads in Silverton are impassable."
A rescue operation is under way in Ortley Beach using a swift boat rescue for a mother and son trapped in an attic, Daley said. They have been awaiting rescue for hours as personnel make multiple attempts to rescue the family.
"We tried to get over there once and were swept away," Daley said. "This is unimaginable."
The barrier island devastation is assumed to be immense.
"We can only assume. Overnight it was impossible to get out there and see. We had reports of the bay and ocean meeting. We'll be confirming damage as soon as we can," Daley said. "I assume the beach is gone."
He described another dramatic call from a barrier island resident who frantically called to say she was trapped inside her home and was witnessing the ocean tear apart a neighbor's house.
"She said the home was being demolished from the waves as she spoke," Daley said.
There are no confirmed deaths in Toms River at this time. The township has been overwhelmed with calls for help, and 8-9 feet high waters have made many emergency vehicles inoperable, he said.
"We've requested the National Guard," Daley said. "We've requested helicopters." Daley said flat-bottom boats and high-water rescue vehicles are planned.
"Even if you were to try, there is so much smaller debris you'd get a flat tire and hamper other rescue operations," Daley said. "Don't let your kids go out and play. They can be electricuted by water touching live wires."
East Dover Fire Company on Fischer Boulevard was evacuated, with personnel and equipment moving operations to Toms River High School East on Raider Way.
"Water reached the firehouse. Fischer Boulevard is bad," Daley said.
The bay flooded Fischer Boulevard at Snug Harbor, and a marina became overwhelmed with water.
"There's a forty foot boat across Fischer Boulevard," Daley said, "with two cars underwater beside it."
In another case a witness reported to Toms River Patch that Kettle Creek marina had such a rush of water that boats became loose from pilings they were tied to, and simply all drifted away.
Pleasant Plains appears to have the lightest call volume. "It's Silverton, East Dover, Money Island — All those voluntary evacuation areas, all the low-lying areas."
Two shelters in Toms River are now packed. Toms River High School North's Pine Belt Arena opened first, followed by Toms River High School East Monday morning. They shelter about 300 each.
"Residents can go to Toms River East and Pine Belt Center, but our shelters are extremely packed. You might consider staying at a friends house out of town. You might be evacuated for days, weeks," Daley said.
The damage cannot be calculated.
"We don't know how many homes were lost," Daley said. "Not just under water — demolished."
The Bennett Indoor Complex, known as "the bubble," collapsed around 4 p.m. Monday, a major rip flattening the structure.
Out of the 1,800 calls, approximatey 150 came from residents trapped in their homes.
"The water came up swiftly, and suddenly there was 8 to 9 feet of it, and they were trapped," Daley said.
He thanked those who voluntarily evacuated and prepared for the emergency as best they could. "That saved a lot of lifes," he said.
Tuesday, he's urging residents to stay at home, use their emergency supplies and await as responders can clear roads and get power restored. "There's nothing open to go to, anyway," he said.
More than 40,000 are without power Tuesday morning in Toms River.
Most bridges in town are impassable but no reports of bridges collapsing, he said. The Route 37 bridge to Seaside remains closed and blocked by police.
"On Pelican Island, all the telephone poles are down," Daley said.
"Rescue is now, clean-up will take a very very long time," he said.
A emergency operations hotline is currently down. Residents should instead call police headquarters at 732-349-0150.
For the latest Hurricane Sandy coverage from Toms River Patch visit our topic page here.