A Long Day's Journey Into A Frightening Night

Bayville Fire Company firefighters weary after onslaught and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

They started even before the storm.

Some members of the Bayville Volunteer Fire Company had already been up for hours when the call for mutual aid came in from Ocean Gate.

A fire broke out at the Ocean Gate Market on Monday morning. By the time it was out, nothing but the brick structure remained. Then three more fires on Wayne Street, on the border with Pine Beach.

By the time a blaze broke out at the former Wicker Store at the dilapidated Beachwood Shopping Center last night, Hurricane Sandy was at its zenith. Heavy rains and even hail fell.

"It felt like someone was shooting BBs," Fire Chief Kenneth Anderson said, as he sat slumped on a stool inside the firehouse.

Firefighters had to lay hose across Route 9 at the Roy Rogers in Pine Beach because of the metal sheets and strips flying off the shopping center and whirling ithrough the air.

Transformers sparked and blew. The wind funneled the flames away from the water. Firefighters couldn't get too close because of the dangerous conditions inside the shopping center.

"The building was unsafe to enter," Anderson said. "It looked like the Fourth of July."

And they didn't just put out fires. They helped move trees out of roads. They rescued people trapped in their homes who had not heeded the mandatory evacuation order.

"We've been close to 200 calls," Anderson said.

The family that is the Bayville Fire Company hunkered down during the storm. Many of the members live in the waterfront community and stayed with their families at the firehouse. The kids slept in tents.

"We're sleeping here tonight," a young boy chortled to a visitor as he lugged his sleeping bag inside the firehouse. "Because we don't have any power."

Marie Kasper - whose husband Steve is a firefighter - stayed with other volunteers to tidy up and prepare food.

"We got here on Sunday and we've been here ever since," she said.

Area restaurants - including Fevola's, Shady Rest and Surf Taco - and several churches donated food.

"Surf Taco was here today actually cooking," Kasper said. "We had a lot of people just donating, which is fantastic. The churches came at the perfect time. The firefighters just came back from the Beachwood Plaza. They were like 'Food, water.' "

By Tuesday night, some of the volunteers were trickling home for the first time in two days.

Firefighter James Murray wasn't sure where he was going to go. Murray's home in the Good Luck Point section of Bayville had 18 inches of water in it today.

"'92 was nothing compared to this," he said, referring to the December 1992 Nor'Easter that pummeled the Jersey Shore for several days. "I've lived here 36 years. It's never been this bad."

Anderson and several other firefighters agreed.

"This is like something you see on T.V.," he said. "Not in Bayville. I've never seen water like that. It was crazy. Hopefully everybody pulls together and we get everything back to the way it was."







Cathy Okulski November 01, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I have an Aunt and Uncle in their 80's that live on Jamaica Blvd. - I've been unable to reach them either . . . Any updates would be appreciated. beachtux@aol.com
AEB November 01, 2012 at 11:08 PM
It fared ok, many downed trees. If anyone would like provide me addresses I can check on your family. If you'd like to contact me at aeb733@gmail.com
Robert Murdock November 03, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Perhaps if the Bayville Fire Company did not vote to eliminate their hard working Auxiliary after generations of historical support and turn the fire house over to a private caterer, the fire fighters would have had meals around the clock in support of their efforts.
Marina November 04, 2012 at 02:58 AM
***TOS VIOLATION*** Nothing more crappy then someone posting a scam ad for knock-offs when people are having difficulties.
was da chief November 16, 2012 at 06:57 PM
For your info Robert, the firefighters did have plenty of hot meals. We had everything we needed. The only thing we didnt have was all of the problems and attitudes associated with the auxiliary. The fire company did not replace the auxiliary with the caterer for food they did it for financial reasons. Lets say to get rid of the burden. If you want to help join the first aid auxiliary of the red cross.


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