Toms River Police Chief Recalls Rescues as Sandy Made Landfall
Toms River–Even as he was getting up to speak at the November 13th Toms River Township Council meeting, police chief Michael Mastronardy was talking to a displaced resident in Ortley Beach, not wasting a second of time as he manages the crises the township currently faces.
It has been part of what many have witnessed and reported about the chief’s calm, cool and collected take charge and hands on approach to managing his township through disasters, which seem to happen all to frequently in the past few years.
In 2010, it was a crippling snow storm. In 2011, it was double blow of Hurricane Irene followed by a severe Halloween nor’easter. This year, the township has been plagued by severe flooding over the summer followed by the one-two punch of Superstorm Sandy and the nor’easter named Athena.
At the township meeting, Mastronardy gave his assessment and report to the public and spoke about the many rescues made by township emergency workers.
“As you know this has been a devastating storm for us and I can’t thank enough the men and women of the police department,” he told the audience. ”If any one of you sat down and listened to these phone calls, the number of calls that we had to handle that night…you hear the people pleading on the phone ‘rescue me’.” Mastronardy said that when the hurricane struck Ocean County his department was flooded with calls from the barrier island, Green Island, Silverton, East Dover and the Bayshore sections seeking police and fire department rescue assistance.
“People were calling and saying they were trapped in their attics or climbing to the roof,” he said. ”Our dispatchers handled every call professionally and exceptionally well. I’m very proud of our dispatchers, our officers who were out there working with EMS and the fire services.”
Mastronardy told stories of Department of Public Works employees taking police officers down streets in the buckets of front end loaders, raising them to the roof to rescue trapped victims as the storm’s surge grew higher and higher.
He highlighted a rescue of a person who was trapped in a car on Fischer Boulevard who took his wife and two children out of the car as it began floating away and put them on a boat that happened to be passing down the road. ”I’m in a boat on Fischer Boulevard, you have to come rescue me.” Mastronardy recounted the man’s call.
Mastronardy praised his officers and the township’s emergency services, including the fire department, department of public works, EMT’s and OEM for the township’s ability to get through the storm without a single fatality or significant injuries.