Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Hurricane Sandy After: Problems, Problems

tree fell on house
Hurricane Sandy brought numerous, numerous, numerous problems. I’ll start with one in Highland Park. This gigantic tree fell on this home by N. 6th and Abbott. It has live wires entangled, so the tree guys can’t yet cut down the tree. The owners are frantic. They have contacted PSE&G and politicians. They are afraid they will lose their home because of a hole in the roof.

Want to help? Contact News 12:
(Or call, email, tweet PSE&G – although unclear how much that will help).

The owner writes:

our 60′ maple tree that fell into our house during the storm, taking down your power lines. It bashed in our eaves, porch roof, and more. Today we went in the house and tried flushing the upstairs toilet and turned on the shower. The water came pouring into our kitchen through a lighting fixture in the ceiling. So obviously we have a sewer pipe broken from where the tree hit the upstairs & first floor bathrooms. PSE&G has not removed the tree yet–it is massive and has a dozen wires entangled in it. PSE&G needs to bring in a crane to remove the tree and the wires before the house can even be tarped. We are assuming that if we get the big storms being predicted for Tues. night into Thurs., the house will be wrecked with water and mold. Right now, because of the holes in the eaves, we have squirrels scurrying above the bedroom ceiling, building a nest up there. This is all so horrifying and preventable, I don’t even know how to cope. Because PSE&G does not consider/care that we may lose our house, we don’t know who to turn to next. It just doesn’t seem right that our house and lives have to be a casualty. We’re looking at possibly months of renovation. We’re looking at ripping out/fixing the bathrooms and kitchen, but if the house doesn’t get tarped, it will be a possibly insurmountable disaster. We’re pretty much in shock and don’t know where to turn. Call PSE&G! They will not listen to us, and have been generally unresponsive in every possible way. The weird thing is, we have power, water, and heat. We’d be happy not to have those things if we could have the tree and wires removed and could start the overhaul of our house, where we’ve lived for 30+ years. I run my business out of my house and don’t know how I’m going to do that, either.

•  •  •

  • Many homes in Highland Park are still without power. Elsewhere in New Jersey, especially by the Shore, whole communities are without power. In communities like Bradley Beach or Belmar, the water went straight through the town, not just along the boardwalk area.
  • A relative in New York lost her car. Many others lost homes, businesses, schools.
  • The Highland Park Reformed Church is organizing a relief effort for the Jersey Shore.
  • Because gas is difficult to come by, gas has been stolen directly from cars. Also, homes that are without power have been burglarized.

South Park in Highland Park
South Park got cleared of live wires yesterday – it no longer looks like this. Unclear why this got attention while other parts of Highland Park did not.

Learn about life in a hurricane, before, during and after.

Helen T. says

Were there burglaries in HP?

Leora says

Yes. At least one. I don't want to say details online. Gas siphoning, too.

Robin from Israel says

What a nightmare. All of it, but especially those poor homeowners with the tree, my heart is breaking for them.

Hang in there everyone!

Carver says

It is terrible how much damage hurricanes can cause and sad about the gas and home burglaries. It's bad enough when natural damage is cause without compounding it with the bad side of human nature. Sometimes people pull together and positive things come out of adversity but too bad the reverse happens too.

Leora says

Fortunately, we have seen much more of the positive here. Lots of sharing and helping each other out. One of my friends with no power is still staying with me - we just had a joint dinner where she cooked some and I cooked a lot and we shared food.

Hannah says

I hope things are seriously beginning to improve.

Leora says

We are at least hoping to get power restored to our area of Highland Park soon. We had a power outage last night for fifteen minutes, and then a giant crane showed up down the block. We shall see.

Larry Lennhoff says

A crane? Can our long nightmare of powerlessness be over at last? Not as of 9AM it isn't. :<( It would be so nice to have power for the storm.

Leora says

Sorry, Larry, false alarm. The other side of N. 7th now has not had power all night. You have new powerless friends instead.

Jewaicious says

I hope that things are beginning to look up, although from the news reports, and from your very own photographs and journalism, it doesn't appear to be the case. And, the new storm, the "nor'easter"...I am so saddened.

Please stay safe and take care.


Leora says

I might write another post tonight. Personally, our family is more than fine, but I can't say that for others. My friends still don't have power, nor does the library or high school. I have a friend who has been staying with us for almost a week. I've learned what her son does and does not like to eat.


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