Oakwood Beach Residents Search Among The Ruins Of Their Lives
Row upon row of empty foundations are sitting where a street full of tight-knit neighbors in Oakwood Beach, Staten Island once lived. NY1's Bree Driscoll reported on Friday on the destruction of Kissam Avenue.
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Pedro Correa of survived the fall of the second tower of the World trade Center, he fought in Iraq and now he is a sergeant at Sing Sing Prison. But it wasn't until Sandy's floodwaters rushed into his house and trapped him and his brother that he feared for his life.
"We jumped up from the dining room table on to a roof. My next door neighbor's roof was coming by us and we floated out on that for the most part. Then we hit the debris field out there and that is when it really got scary," said Correa.
After hanging on for two-and-a-half hours, they made it to a home where they were taken in.
Sandy was so powerful it ripped his house at 103 Kissam Avenue right off its foundation and carried it more than 400 yards away to an adjacent field.
"I have nothing left. I put everything I had into that house," Correa said.
Four days later, Correa walked through where his home once stood, where he lived with his wife and two kids, searching for anything that was not destroyed.
Under some debris, he found his three-year-old daughter's first Christmas ornament. The porcelain decoration miraculously survived the storm unscathed.
Meanwhile, neighbors Anthony and Phyllis Puglia also lost the home they have lived in for the past 18 years.
"It is horrible to want to go home and you can't go home," said Phyllis Puglia. "It is scattered in the weeds. How do you start over? We are in our 60s, how do you start over?"
The couple has been sleeping in their car with few options left.
"It's cold you put the heat on and then with the gas crisis you don't want to run the heat too much," said Anthony Puglia.
Correa finished his Friday with his chickens. Seven out of eight survived the storm in their coop, even though it floated yards away. They now are adapting to their new home in a nearby yard continuing to lay eggs, managing in new adverse conditions.
The neighbors of Kissam Avenue will have to do the same.