CORRECTION: Fire Island Not Devastated By Hurricane Sandy

UPDATE: The majority of damage was done to Western communities (Ocean Bay Park, Seaview, Ocean Beach, etc.) and not Eastern communities (The Pines and Grove). The Pines’ oceanfront houses lost decks and pools, as well as its dune, and some boardwalks have been badly damaged. But most of the community, including the commercial district, harbor etc. survived intact and no houses were lost. We apologize for the error.

Hurricane Sandy has really done a number on the Eastern seaboard, though New York’s Fire Island, a historically gay vacation hotspot, suffered a significant amount of damage in what authorities are calling the worst storm to hit the island since 1938.

Eighty percent of the homes facing the ocean have been damaged to some extent, while a dozen were either destroyed or simply washed out to sea, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told Long Island daily paper, Newsday.

Bellone noted that seawater breached the island in four places, warning, “It will have changed in a number of ways.”

One breach in the eastern end is so deep it threatens to create a new inlet. Superintendent of the Fire Island National Seashore Chris Soller said “these next tide cycles are going to tell the story,” as more breaches and changes in geography are possible.

According to Ocean Beach Fire Chief Ian Levine, floods swept through Fire Island’s streets and structures. “It’ll take years to rebuild everything,” he said.

Luckily, there have been no casualties. Authorities initially thought around 60 people rode out the storm on the barrier island, but it turned out be 120, all of whom were accounted for.

Town spokesman Tim Ruggeri said first responders were rescuing residents stranded by floodwaters until 4 in the morning, blaming residents who had refused to evacuate. “This really taxes our first responders,” he said. “Last night put us in a pretty severe situation, getting people out.”

Those who did evacuate won’t be allowed back to Fire Island until at least the weekend, the fire chief said.

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  • Fitz

    I understand refusing to evacuate, but it’s not fair to the people who have to save your ass.

  • JOHN 1957

    In a situation like this storm you fly out of town, you don’t walk, you fly! Putting everything aside, this is heartbreaking news. My first stay on Fire Island was back in summer of 1979 and the men I knew back then made sure it was an enchanted one. It was a beautiful place to meditate by the ocean at night or party til’ you dropped, the choice was yours. Grateful to hear they stated there were no casualties.

  • nlaf

    I am a resident of Fire Island Pines and I can give you a first hand account of our community. WE ARE BLESSED. Of all of the communities on Fire Island, ours was one of the least damaged. Yes many ocean front homes have damage but no homes were lost, many are fine and Summer 2013 will be as fabulous as always. Many of these articles are including the other communities of Fire Island who were harder hit, not ours. The harbor area is fully in tact, the new Sip N Twirl building was completely untouched. Hotel Ciel and the Blue Whale are also fine. Most of all we are a resilient community that has bounced back from worse than this. WE ARE NOT DEVASTATED! We have been knocked down but not out!

  • BobHoward

    Finally, some actual reporting for someone who has actually been there Thank you Nicole.

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