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Bridgewater First Responders Help Devastated Shore

Martinsville's John Cowley and Green Knoll's Mark Vogt go to Union Beach to help with rescue efforts.

In Bridgewater, residents are dealing with fallen trees and power lines, power outages through half of the town and much more—but down the shore, the houses have simply floated away.

Martinsville Rescue Squad Chief John Cowley, and Green Knoll Rescue Squad Lt. Mark Vogt headed down to Union Beach Tuesday to aid in rescue efforts as part of a state force deployed to aid in efforts after the superstorm.

The two deployed at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday to help those who were flooded out of their homes.

"A couple years back, this group was put together, and they called us and asked if we were available," Cowley said.

The two brought one rig down south to begin aiding in the efforts.

And what they saw in Union Beach was nothing short of incredible.

"It's a mess down there," Cowley said. "The water came up very high and houses collapsed."

When the water began flooding the area, Cowley said, many houses were separated from their foundations, and they began to float down the street. Once the water receded, he said, the houses simply dropped wherever they landed, some in the middle of the street.

"We lost power, but that's nothing compared to the people down there," he said.

Once there, Cowley said, he and Vogt were dispatched to pick up people who were displaced when the flooding began.

"We were going into an area where the homes were more tightly packed," Cowley said, adding that it is much more densely populated than Bridgewater. "We're more affluent here, and the people are not as heavily impacted."

Cowley said that it is a world of difference between down the shore and in Bridgewater, with both dealing with separate problems.

"We went inland, and we saw that debris had dropped [where the storm touched down]," he said. "We are fortunate here, it could have been worse and we could have been hit like Union Beach."

anneli k. merich November 01, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I am looking for my son Bryan Charles Merich 47, his address is 204 Helfreds Landing, Bridgewater, NJ 08807. I last spoke with him at 3a.m.on Tuesday morning. Since then I cannot reach him on his cell phone and have heard nothing from him. Are there any listings of displced/injured persons? How can I find him?? Any contact or help you can give me? Anneli Merich, I live in Santa Barbara California my email: americh@fielding.edu Tel 805-898-4056 I would be grateful for any help you might give me in locating my son. I realize Bridgewater is total disarray and can understand if my request is impossible. Anneli Merich
tracy biondi November 02, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Does anyone know where we can bring donations of clothes?? Have about 6 bags or mens, womens, and little girls stuff, shoes and coats. Blankets too....if anyone else from any of the rescue squads are heading south, would they take it? Or is there somewhere we can bring it...to help right away. Its all fall stuff...

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