Superstorm Sandy: First Responders Get Gas Priority in Storm Aftermath


In addition to New Jersey shortages, two-thirds of gas stations in the New York metro area are out of gas, too.

This morning, during a FEMA briefing with governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, President Obama said "we still have a long way to go" but everyone is putting in "120 percent" effort.

"We don't have patience for bureaucracy. We don't have patience for red tape," Obama said.

The president listed the five steps currently being taken: restoring power, pumping out water from flooded areas, making sure people's needs are being taken care of, removing debris and getting National Guard in place.


Five days after Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast, Sgt. Bill Shalleesh and the rest of the New York Police Department's aviation team, are still flying over the wreckage to save people from rooftops.

Some homes are flooded, damaged by debris or no longer stand because they were washed away, and the death toll climbed above 100 on Friday.

"It's a little disturbing, a little heart-wrenching when you see," Shalleesh said, adding that his neighborhood got hit hard, too.

The aviation team rescued five adults and one child that day.

But Staten Island and the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens were hit hardest, he said. A fire broke out in Breezy Point Monday night, destroying dozens of homes. In Staten Island, the flooding was so bad that some homes were swept off their foundation and washed to a marsh.

"It almost looks like a wrecking ball just came through and just swept these homes out from this high up in the air," Shalleesh said, looking down at Staten Island. "It almost looks like toothpicks just scattered everywhere across this borough."

In the police department's harbor unit, where the 8- to 10-foot surge caused boats to washed from one side of the Staten Island Marina to the other, officers had to get creative in their rescue efforts.

PHOTOS: Superstorm Sandy's Wide Swath of Destruction

"We took zodiacs, john boats, rafts, whatever floatation devices we had," said Captain Anthony Russo of the NYPD Harbor Unit. "We were walking these rafts through the streets of Staten Island and pulling people out of their homes."


Cheers of joy erupted in many New York neighborhoods Friday night when lights flickered on, signaling a return to power after days in the dark. For many, it meant they could finally return to their abandoned apartments. For others, it meant a return to normalcy at last.

Lower Manhattan lost power when the Hurricane Sandy surge caused an explosion at the ConEd substation at 14th street and FDR Drive Monday night. When traffic lights began working again Friday, elated screams echoed in Soho, Chelsea and other neighborhoods that had been deprived of heat, light and elevators.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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