Sandy making generators a life saver for some

(CBS News) Dominick Mazza's New Jersey waste removal business has collected 7,500 tons of debris since Superstorm Sandy hit.

But Mazza can't get rid of it all because there aren't enough state-licensed trucks to haul it all away. Some debris mounds contain potential health hazards.

Mazza says waste such as oil, paint cans, and refrigerators contain toxic chemicals that could be released into the air. And right now, objects such as those are sitting in Sandy-affected towns because there are no permits that allow them to be taken away.

For every two steps forward, the recovery from Sandy seems to take one step back.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced new gasoline rationing for drivers, who will have to wait until the weekend for the last of the city's flooded tunnels to reopen.

And the winds and snow from Wednesday's nor'easter killed power to another 200,000 customers, mostly in New Jersey.

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Lynn Crofton's fiance Billy Reed, a stroke victim, needs life-sustaining equipment including a ventilator and a nebulizer. They've all had to run on generator power since Sandy hit.

"Who would ever expect in the United States of America you would be without power and heat for 11 days?" asks Crofton.

She gases up the generator three times a day -- and waits for the power company.

Without the equipment, Crofton says Reed would be in a hospital, nursing home or emergency room.

"And God only knows what he's going to catch in there," she says. "I just cant do that to another human being."

Crofton knows she's lucky to at least have a roof, since Sandy left many homes in ruins.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.