Sanitation Workers Try To Rebuild Their Lives While Continuing To Help Others
New York City sanitation workers have had to help many around the city rebuild from Sandy while dealing with devastated homes and lives of their own. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
They call themselves New York's strongest. But in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that refers to mental and emotional strength as well.
"You're basically throwing people's lives away," said sanitation worker Christopher Nunziato. "You're throwing out everything they own for their whole lives. They clean out their house and you're throwing it into a garbage truck and they're crying watching you do it."
Nunziato has been removing debris not only on the job, but at home.
His Midland Beach house was flooded when the storm hit and he had to escape with his pregnant wife and two children.
"By the time I got them in the car the water was almost knee high," Nunziato said. "We fled out of there with the clothes we were wearing."
While he waits to see what insurance will cover, Nunziato relocated his family to Brooklyn.
He works Garage 12 in Borough Park, where in the days following Sandy the garage nearly tripled its capacity.
It took in displaced sanitation workers from other damaged garages.
Garage 13 in Coney Island was destroyed by the floodwaters. Garage 11 in Gravesend was out of service for several weeks.
Many of those who worked through the storm lost their cars.
"You have barricades that were shifted that's how bad the wind and the rain were back there with the waves," said John Talmadge from Uniformed Sanitation Workers Local 831. "The men were out there themselves moving the equipment so the equipment didn't get damaged. So in the process some of their own vehicles were damaged."
Garage 11 is back up and running, but 13 is still out of commission.
So workers from there are still stationed at Garage 12. The parking lot is so full, employees have to park their cars on the sidewalks. Some are triple parked.
As for the Coney Island garage, the Sanitation Department says it has to undergo so many major repairs, it remains closed indefinitely.