Stuck Staten Island residents ask local leaders for rescue

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

The storm caused by Hurricane Sandy has downed trees, flooded homes and damaged streets in the New York City borough of Staten Island. On the island's south shore, trapped residents, some of whom ignored evacuation orders, pleaded with local officials on Facebook to send help to their flooded homes.

Many families were stuck in their attics as they retreated from the rising flood waters, while some even less fortunate were forced to seek help from their rooftops. "Family of 5 trapped on 2nd fl since yesterday included fireman and baby," one Facebook poster wrote on Staten Island City Councilman James Oddo's Facebook page, adding the specific address. "2 adults 2 dogs trapped since yesterday in the attic please help," another person wrote. Oddo wrote that he would pass on the many addresses posted on his page to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the city's emergency management services. Many people could not get through to 911 last night because the system was so overloaded with calls--about 20,0000 per hour--and were thus trying Facebook and Twitter as a last resort.

Mio Delgado, a former New York City EMT who now lives in North Carolina, tells Yahoo News she has yet to hear if her family members who are trapped in a two-story home on Midland Beach have been rescued. The water had risen to the second floor of the house Monday night, and Delgado's grandmother, father, sister, and the sister's two young children gathered in the attic to escape the flood. Delgado's sister heard her neighbors yelling, "I don't want to die, somebody please help us" as the hours wore on. When Delgado's sister finally got through to 911 on her cell phone, a dispatcher told her first responders were only able to rescue people stuck on their roofs, and would return for them later. As of Tuesday morning, when Delgado lost contact with her sister, the family was still trapped inside their home.

Delgado also posted to Oddo's page, but has not yet received a reply. The councilman helped coordinate a rescue for an 87-year-old woman who was trapped in a flooded home Monday night. "God bless the FDNY who just put her in a car headed toward her daughter's house," the councilman wrote. Oddo told the Staten Island Advocate that the south shore looked like a "war zone," and that hundreds of people in his region were trapped in their homes as the water rose.

In a dispatch on Tuesday morning, the Staten Island Advance said that streets are "mud-covered, debris strewn and dark, with very few traffic signals working." Nearly half of the island's homes are without power.

The storm even pushed a 168-foot water tanker onto the island, a mile from where it was docked.

According to the Daily News, an off duty police officer, a 13-year-old girl, and a father and son have all been found dead on Staten Island so far. The 13-year-old girl's father, a plumber, is missing.

First responders are still searching coastal, low-lying areas of Staten Island for people trapped by flood water.