Sandy-Struck Residents Return Home [AUDIO/VIDEO]
Many residents of Ocean County's Northern Barrier Island will be able to spend the night home for the first time since Superstorm Sandy hit. However, others are returning to massive renovation projects.
Most of Ocean County's Northern Barrier Island is reopened since Sandy. Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher said the state of Emergency has been lifted Monday from the barrier island section of his town. Brick Township and Lavallette are reopened as well. Seaside Heights is repopulating single family homes.
Police presence will remain in the communities and communities will still maintain pedestrian curfews. Residents and visitors will be permitted to drive along route 35.
Many of the homeowners are returning to major renovation contracts, mitigating the mold that was allowed to spread while the homes sat unattended.
"It'll probably take me six to nine months before I can get everything back together," says John DeAndrea of Silver Beach.
While many residents only suffered partial damage to sections of their homes or single rooms and will be living in their homes while doing the repairs, DeAndrea was hit harder.
"I haven't been here, I can't sleep here, I don't have any mattresses or box springs here. The house is cleared out."
Not all homes suffered severe damage and many residents will be returning to live there. Diane and Peter Hawkins are salivating at the thought of finally spending the night in their own bed.
"It's going to be awesome," says Diane Hawkins, with her husband adding, "Refreshing."
The couple has spend the entire two months since the storm living with family.
"They've been very generous, it's been ok. But we're really happy to be home," says Mrs. Hawkins.
The Ortley Beach of Toms River will remain closed as crews work to restore utilities and repair road damage.