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Parts Of Staten Island Begin Cleaning Up; People Remain Missing In Areas Still Underwater

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The water has begun to recede in parts of Staten Island, revealing the damage left behind from superstorm Sandy.

New Dorp Beach reeks of gasoline, mud and worse, WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported.

In South Beach, yards are littered with cars, broken windows and fences and clothes and furniture carried by the rushing water, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.

Everything left behind is draped with mud, leaves and debris, Murnane reported.

"We're always the forgotten borough and it's ridiculous," South Beach resident Brad told Rincon.

WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reports


When asked to describe the condition of his home in one word, New Dorp Beach resident John Burzo replied, "Done. The cars floated away out of my driveway. I had 14 feet of water."

Burzo said the scope of the destruction is almost too large to comprehend and said he doesn't know how to begin tackling the mess.

"What do we do? Do we start to get rid of the debris, how are the insurance companies going to handle this?" Burzo told Murnane.

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Burzo said the community has banded together in the wake of the storm.

"I just think it's your neighbors, your friends. Some got hit worse than others and it just brings everybody together now. Now you're going to find out who's who in your neighborhood," Burzo told Murnane.

One resident who identified himself only as Fred said he has been sleeping in his car rather than go to a shelter because he does not want his destroyed home looted.

"I go down with my ship," he told Murnane.

Other residents said the storm helped them realize material things are not that important in the grand scheme.

"I lost my wedding album, my children's pictures, my grandchild's pictures. But make new pictures," one woman said.

1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reports


A South Beach resident said he tried to warn his neighbors to evacuate.

"We've seen this before, this ain't the first time. It's happened actually in [19]92," John Callenberg told Rincon. "We boarded up as best we could and we took off."

Some residents decided to stay back and weather the storm from home. South Beach resident Sandra Debrango said the rushing water came on more furiously than she expected.

"I think I would have been more horrified coming home to this than being home and seeing it all happen," Debrango told Rincon. "And it was moving so fast, unbelievable. And then seeing this, it's very, very frightening. And we have no heat, there's no gas, there's no nothing and I don't think it's going to happen any time soon."

Some parts of Staten Island are still underwater and several residents had to be rescued by NYPD helicopters Wednesday morning.

Video of the rescues shows a neighborhood covered in flooded streets and submerged cars. In one video, people can be seen standing on the roof of their home as police lower a basket down to the victims and pull them up.

Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island, said there are still people missing.

"One of the problems is some of the shelters didn't have power yesterday so it's hard to actually find everyone. At some of the shelters, we had as many as 600 people so it is difficult to account for everyone," Grimm told 1010 WINS.

"There's a postal worker that we're looking for. We're trying to track him down for his family, he has young children. A great guy named Lenny that we know personally so we're checking with shelters, checking with hospitals, putting the word out," Grimm said.

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