Aside from widespread power outages and flooding that is reaching doorsteps, residents stranded in Seaside Heights, N.J., are worried about another danger: ruptured gas lines.
Locals told “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran that they had been told there is a concern that the slightest spark could set the town ablaze.
Moran, who canoed to the beach because the storm surge from Sandy was so high, said he could smell gas and oil coming from the standing flood waters and reported that dozens of people who rode out the storm in their homes were waiting to be evacuated.
“They are scared, they are cold, it’s getting cold, there’s no power here, and the evacuations have not really done much to clear the town,” Moran said.
Seaside Heights is a barrier island on the New Jersey shore, connected to the mainland by bridges on Route 35 and Route 37. It’s about 62 miles north of Atlantic City, which lost much of its iconic boardwalk as the storm surge from Sandy tore through.
The rides at Funtown Pier, the amusement park in Seaside Heights, are under water, and much of the town’s boardwalk is in ruins. Boats and pieces of docks float down the town’s streets.
Sandy was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm shortly before it made landfall at 8 p.m. in Atlantic City on Monday, but that didn’t stop it from wreaking havoc. The National Weather Service estimated that up to a foot of rain fell across southern New Jersey overnight and winds peaked at 77 mph in Atlantic City.
Tonight, parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain under flash flood watches and warnings. Sandy killed at least 39 people in seven states, according to The Associated Press, and left more than 8 million customers without electric power.