Bay Shore, Long Island, Gearing For Irene's Wrath

Friday was the calm before the storm throughout Long Island. Everyone is aware of Irene, but not many seemed too concerned.

As more evacuations were announced and more first responders prepared to roll out, many homes did not have their windows boarded up or even loose furniture or items around their house tied up.

However for a change of scenery all one has to do is go inside a Home Depot. In the parking lot of the Home Depot in Copiague, customers were rolling of the store with hurricane prep supplies.

The most popular? Plywood. "I was surprised there was wood left. I didn't think there was anything," said one customer, who quickly added, "Hopefully this will work."

Tracey Adinolfi's property sits off of a canal in the Great South Bay in Massapequa. While others spent the day out boating just a few yards from her backyard, she was putting the final touches on packing up, "I'm going to board the windows down here, all along this screen room, and maybe even up on top."

In Bayshore, a community prone to heavy flooding, the South Side Hospital started evacuating 250 patients. At the Ferry Terminal a few miles away, hundreds of passengers were coming over from Fire Island every half an hour, "Everything is getting boarded. All the restaurants are boarding their windows," said one tourist who cut her vacation short.

Finally, this evening at the Foster's residence on West Concourse in Brightwaters, a worker was busy building a masonry wall around a garage. The goal is to have it hold. When asked how is the wall? The worker quickly responded with a "very good."

And as residents prepare to wait out the storm, the Bay Shore firefighters find themselves preparing for a much more daunting task. Rarely do firefighters say they're afraid, but Assistant Chief John Ippolito of the Bay Shore Fire Department is. Hurricane Irene is instilling a fear that those who are assigned to protect have never quite felt before, "After listening to things today and yesterday. I'm nervous and scared."

Nerves are filled with fear due to the various characteristics that Irene has to offer: its uncertainty, Category 2 power, and potential to flood coastal communities of Long Island. While examining a flood chart that showed towns like Islip, Bayshore, Brightwaters, and West Bayshore underwater, Ippolito admitted they are aware and worried of residents who don't realize their home could be submerged come Monday.

"That is one of our main concerns, how are we going to get there to help them."

Ippolito and his entire entire engine are made up of volunteers who have been mobilizing over the past 36 hours.

They've added new equipment like a shuttle lift (on loan from the Coast Guard), chainsaws, and even new rescue vessels, "This is the first time we had to go out and purchase a boat of some sort."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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