New York Region Faces Rescues, Looting and a Rising Death Toll

In New Jersey, where flooding destroyed large parts of areas like Hoboken and Mantoloking, above, over two million people were without power on Wednesday

New York faced the reality of life after Hurricane Sandy on Wednesday: horror in still-waterlogged neighborhoods, where rescue workers pulled bodies from wreckage, and exasperation elsewhere as more than 3.75 million people entered a third day without electricity.

The storm was blamed for more than 70 deaths in the United States, including 24 in New York City, 8 in New Jersey and 4 in Connecticut. And Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said initial damage estimates “project up to $6 billion in lost economic revenue” in New York State.

The death toll seemed certain to rise as rescuers checked basements that had flooded, trapping homeowners inside. The wall of water driven ashore by the storm even flooded three police stations, two in Brooklyn and one in the Rockaway section of Queens.

Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, said a steamfitter was rescued from one station house as water crashed in. The steamfitter, whom he identified as Kevin Hunter, had been working in the boiler room, two levels below the first floor, trying to shut off steam pipes before the surge of cold water rolled in.

But Mr. Hunter’s leg became caught, and he was “completely submerged underwater, unable to get free,” Mr. Browne said in an e-mail. Another steamfitter, Anthony DiMaggio, sought help, and he and Lt. Peter O’Neill freed his leg and carried him out in chest-high water. With help from other officers, “they literally swam Hunter to Neptune Avenue, where the water wasn’t as high,” Mr. Browne said.

Eventually they loaded him onto a city bus that carried them out of the flooded area, and later into an ambulance that took him to Maimonides Hospital. He was treated for cuts, muscle strains and hypothermia.

Fifteen people in the Far Rockaway section of Queens and nine in Coney Island were charged with burglary and other offenses in connection with looting at stores. Among them was a 29-year-old woman who faced a weapons charge “after the safe she was carrying from a store was found to contain a firearm,” Mr. Browne said.

For those who did not have basements that flooded or buildings that slipped off their foundations, there were lines at the gasoline stations that have power to pump fuel for generators and for cars. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie’s office warned drivers to be careful because lines were so long that they had stretched onto the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. One Twitter feed that had been following the hurricane on the Jersey Shore began sending out updates about where to buy gas.

A wide stretch of Lower Manhattan remained dark, as did the Jersey Shore, waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, and most of Long Island.

But the first section of Manhattan that lost power on Monday night, after an explosion and fire at a substation on East 14th Street, had had its lights turned back on, a Consolidated Edison executive said. Doing that restored power to about 2,000 of more than 220,000 customers below 39th Steet in Manhattan. The rest will probably have to wait until Friday or Saturday, said John Miksad, Con Ed’s senior vice president for electric operations.

Power also returned to the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn. But repairing all of the downed wires in other boroughs and in Westchester County could take another week, Mr. Miksad said.

In New Jersey, executives at Public Service Electric and Gas Company said 900,000 customers were still without power, down from a peak of 1.7 million on Tuesday. Some of the company’s main lines, carrying power to substations for local distribution, still needed to be repaired, officials said. But they said electricity was on again in Newark, Elizabeth and parts of Jersey City, and they expected to have all power restored by Nov. 9.

Another big utility, Jersey Central Power and Light, said nearly 950,000 customers did not have electricity. About half were in Monmouth and Ocean Counties along the shore.

Connecticut Light and Power reported that more than 318,000 customers were out, including about two-thirds of its customers in Greenwich and New Canaan and 9 out of 10 in Weston.

Source: NYTimes


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