Blazing Fire Engulfing New Jersey Shore Town Mantoloking Another Casualty of Storm Sandy

Another blazing fire is currently burning this Wednesday morning in the New Jersey shore town Mantoloking. The fire appears to have almost engulfed the Jersey town which in addition to yesterday’s damage is another casualty of storm Sandy.

Flames were burning all over the cut-off barrier island of Mantoloking. There was a large cluster of flames and smaller fires spread out from it, with some flames shooting directly out of the sand.

Authorities believed a gas main may have exploded and quickly spread across the island. The small town, which sits between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, suffered severe damage during the storm.

Several homes were destroyed and continued to burn. It was unclear if the homes were destroyed by the fire or explosion or before it.

Firefighters could not reach the blaze due to storm damage on the roads leading to Mantoloking from the mainland.

Meanwhile, even as some barrier islands are mostly cut off and millions in New Jersey are without electricity, Gov. Chris Christie said that the state should start thinking about recovery and rebuilding after hybrid storm Sandy ravaged the shore and did damage in all corners of the state.

“Tomorrow recovery begins. Today was a day of sorrow,” Christie said at a news conference Tuesday evening. “There’s nothing wrong with that. So long as sorrow doesn’t replace resilience, we’ll be just fine.”

President Barack Obama was planning to visit New Jersey on Wednesday to see the area where the violent storm made landfall two days before.

Christie said Tuesday that when he speaks with Obama, he plans to ask the president to assign the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start working on how to rebuild beaches and find “the best way to rebuild the beach to protect these towns.”

While that sounds like a notion that would be hard to disagree with, it can be contentious.

New Jersey’s shore has been a political battleground over beach replenishment projects. Some oceanfront homeowners object to building up dunes. Sure, they may protect their properties’ integrity, but higher dunes can damage pristine ocean views and the property values that come with them.

And some environmental groups have objected to replenishment plans, too, partly because of fears of contamination in the sand that’s being moved around.

New Jersey is still assessing damage from this week’s storm.

The sweep of devastation from Superstorm Sandy became heartbreakingly clear Tuesday: At least 55 people are dead, and authorities face the unimaginable task of restoring power and transit for millions of others.

Details of the devastation became clearer late Tuesday after authorities made their way through severely damaged areas across 20 states stretching from New England to Tennessee:

• Of the 55 people killed that Associated Press has reported, forty-six people had been killed in the U.S., 23 of them in New York — including 18 in New York City, NBC News reported. Six people had been killed in New Jersey, as well as five in Pennsylvania; four in Connecticut; two apiece in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia; and one each in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. Before it made its way north, Sandy was blamed for 68 other deaths in the Caribbean.
• More than 6.6 million homes and businesses were without electricity, about two-thirds of them in New York and New Jersey. That number represents individual structures, including large businesses, meaning the number of people without light, heat or refrigeration is likely much higher.
• The New York region’s airports were closed Tuesday. JFK International and Newark Liberty will open early Wednesday and offer limited service; LaGuardia will remain closed “due to extensive damage,” Cuomo said. More than 18,000 flights had been canceled, while Amtrak canceled all of its Northeast Corridor rail service Tuesday, in addition to some other lines.
• Subway service was unlikely to resume for four to five days, Bloomberg said, but free bus service had resumed on a Saturday schedule, and about 4,000 cabs were running on city streets. PATH train service between Manhattan and New Jersey is likely to be suspended for seven to 10 days, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.
• The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the South Ferry subway station was “flooded up to the ceiling,” while each tube of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel — better known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel — was filled with 43 million gallons of water.
• At least four towns in north New Jersey were submerged by up to 6 feet of water after a levee broke.
• A half-dozen nuclear power plants were shut down or otherwise affected, while the nation’s oldest facility declared a rare “alert” after the record storm surge pushed flood waters high enough to endanger a key cooling system.
• Major U.S. stock exchanges were closed Tuesday for a second day, but they planned to reopen Wednesday.

With six deaths across the state in New Jersey, plus power outages that were at their peak Monday 2.7 million residential and commercial customers have been affected. The lights were out in Jersey City and most of Newark and in other communities scattered all over the state.

Dawn Zimmer, mayor of Hoboken, N.J., said half the city remained flooded Tuesday night.

“We have, probably, about 20,000 people that still remain in their homes, and we’re trying to put together an evacuation plan, get the equipment here,” according to an MSNBC TV report.

Zimmer said the city’s electric utility vehicles were too big to make it down many of the flooded streets. After “begging and pleading” for equipment, she said, the National Guard told her Tuesday night some could arrive Wednesday morning.

In Breezy Point, a seaside community in Queens, N.Y., a massive fire of undetermined origin destroyed at least 110 homes and damaged 20 others. Firefighters had difficulty reaching the blaze because of the severe weather.

And this is the tone of conversation throughout areas on the north eastern coast of the U.S. The fire blazing in Mantoloking is just another example of the destruction left of triggered in the storms aftermath.

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