STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — Police allowed residents to return Thursday to most of the bayside Beach Haven West community, where they found that Hurricane Sandy punished some houses, leaving others relatively unharmed.
Scores of docks were destroyed, and the storm scattered boats throughout the neighborhood of about 4,400 people.
“This is a disaster area,” said Andrea Ruiz, 70, as she approached the Mill Creek Road home she has lived in with her husband, Abraham Ruiz, 69, since 1985.
Township emergency management officials allowed residents back into all but Mill Creek Road south of the Jonathan Road intersection, which received the worst damage.
The township will operate a bus service between noon and 4 p.m. starting at the intersection for those affected residents. South Mill Creek residents are allowed one visit per day to retrieve personal belongings and must provide proof of residence or ownership. Children are not permitted, and only two adults per property will be allowed.
One person apparently died in the storm after refusing to evacuate Beach Haven West, police said. The person has not been identified.
Approaching their home, the Ruizes were anxious.
“After 30 years, I hope it is still here,” Abraham Ruiz said.
Their green home appeared around a corner “This is it,” Andrea Ruiz said. “Oh, my, I hope — Oh, that’s — Thank God — Thank god, I think we’re safe!”
The home was largely intact. Stormwaters left a grassy ring around the house, depositing marsh grass on the first step.
They walked through the house, ecstatic. “The car, oh, the car is safe!” Andrea Ruiz said.
Out the back door, they saw the storm twisted their dock and destroyed part of their back deck.
“We’re lucky,” Abraham Ruiz said, standing on his back deck.
About a half hour later, Rose and Victor Korobanov rode towards their home on nearby Andrew Drive that they had lived in for about 30 years.
“Oh, my God, look at here,” Rose Korobanov said quietly as they passed a home where a boat went through the ground floor.
On their street the storm had blown Paul Barnes’s boat down the street, sliding it between Korobanov’s and a neighbor’s home and depositing it in the lagoon, sideways.
Barnes, 56, of Oradell, Bergen County, and his son Thomas Barnes, 20, stood in shock looking at the 31-foot craft and the personal watercraft attached to it.
Rose Korobanov stayed in the car to put on her boots while her husband walked to the house.
Storm waters left a grassy ring about chest deep on their green bungalow. Victor Korobanov put his key in the lock, opened the door and entered with a squish.
The house stunk like a marsh.
Water had knocked over their television and flooded their computer. Doll shoes sparkled incongruously in the middle of the floor and the white beach furniture was stained a dull brown.
“Wow.” Victor Korobanov said as he walked through the living room and kitchen, stepping over mud. “Ooh. Aah. The refrigerator –” he pointed to the refrigerator laying face down. “I just bought that refrigerator.”
He stepped into the bathroom, looked around and after a few moments said “I don’t know what to do.”
He walked back out of the house, just as his wife arrived. “How’s it look,” she asked brightly.
“Not good,” he said, and she entered.
“Oh!” Rose Korobanov shouted. “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
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