Rumson Residents Assess Damage

By Brian Deakyne

RUMSON — In the days following Hurricane Sandy, local residents and businesses are all looking toward the same thing: Hope.

With several roads closed and almost all of Monmouth County without power, nearly every Two River-area business, as of Wednesday, was out-of-order until power is restored.

Numerous roads in Rumson remained closed as crews worked to get trees out of the way and power back into homes of roughly 90 percent of the county, most of whom lost power sometime Monday.

“It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, nobody is prepared for something like this,” said Greg Fullman, an employee at Exxon on River Road in Rumson. “You don’t see much from here, but once you drive around, you can see that homes tumbled, porches are gone. Some people were really hit hard.”

Fullman, who lives in Leonardo, said it doesn’t matter where you go, the damage is generally the same  as most places across the state , except on the shoreline.

Other places in Rumson narrowly avoided losing everything. Wells Fargo, also on River Road, had an oak tree crash to the ground just in front of the entrance and Victory Park also suffered serious damage from fallen trees.

Todd Sherman, owner of Barnicle Bill’s on First Street, said his establishment had at least 3-feet of water and sand in it at the height of the storm. The heating, air conditioning and refrigeration units were ruined. All the food in the restaurant was being thrown away. The water outside the restaurant was up past the portholes on the dock building at one point.

“Our (outside) beer box had 15 full kegs in it. (The storm surge) lifted it, it floated and then flipped over,” Sherman said.

When he arrived at the restaurant at 6 a.m. Tuesday, he heard the hissing of a gas leak. He called police and the gas was shut off.

“Dollar-wise, I just don’t know what this will cost,” said Sherman, mentioning he has insurance. He hopes to open quickly after electricity returns.

Borough resident Randy Haydick said, “It seems like the storm surge and the wind is really what got everything.

Haydick, who lost power at 3:30 p.m. Monday, said he was hoping for the best but there was a lot of damage throughout the town’s streets.

“I’m hoping to get power back by Saturday. We have football coming for the weekend and we just want to see some signs of normalcy,” he said.

Harding Road, which bridges Red Bank to Rumson, had several sections of it closed, near Prospect Ave, as trees had blown into the street. Detours were everywhere.

Meanwhile, some residents were expecting it will be days before power is restored.  The downed trees stopped some residents from getting out of their homes.

Monmouth County issued a curfew on Tuesday for 7 p.m. that would be effective throughout the week and residents were urged to stay off the roads and remain inside after dark.

Generally, most residents didn’t suffer damage to their homes but sustained some property and/or car damage from falling trees. Many residents were working Wednesday to remove trees, leaves and branches from their yards and sweep them to the curb.

“I lost part of my tree, and it missed my car by about an inch,”said  Nanette Reis. “My husband and I never even heard a thing.”

Many residents had invested in gasoline-powered generators to help them with electrical needs, including refrigerators, freezers and cellphone chargers.

“We were using our generator for our sump pump in the basement. We also connected it to one of our TVs and saw some of the pictures” of the storm-torn area, Reis said.

As for everything getting back to normal, it’s only a matter of time, said Fullman, whose gas station had lots of business as it was only one of the few operating Wednesday.

“For today and tomorrow, yes we’re affected. But it all depends on how the rest of the week goes,” he said.



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