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Bellone: Town Clearing Irene Debris 'Block by Block'

Babylon supervisor says the town’s been aggressive in its clean-up efforts after the storm.

Babylon Town is now in its third week of since Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Irene hit the town hard, flooding low-lying areas, causing beach erosion, downing trees, branches and wires, and leaving of residents without power for days.

The is estimating total storm costs at more than a million dollars, but hoping to offset some of those costs with aid.

In the meantime, while waiting to see what kind of aid FEMA may or may not provide, the town’s been moving forward with the clean-up operation that’s been mainly been done during normal work hours, officials said.

But it's also documenting its efforts, including man hours, trucks, tools, debris tonnage, scale tickets, etc., especially when it comes to any crews that had to be sent out beyond normal hours – four hours each day, plus Saturdays.

Those clean-up efforts have included the removal of an estimated 500 down trees and more than 1,000 large branches town-wide, which wreaked and caused that lasted for days for residents in and across the town.

“We’ve been aggressive in our efforts in getting trees off roads,” Town Supervisor Steve Bellone told Patch after Tuesday ’s town . “We began on Sunday morning after the storm, and we made sure we had a representative from embedded with us so we could remove trees and clear roads involving downed wires.”

Bellone said the reason for having someone from embedded with the town was not only to expedite the removal of downed wires and associated trees and branches, but also to ensure the safety of its DPW crews.

“We had to make sure that before our crews went in to remove a tree or debris where there were downed wires, it was safe, [and] the wires were de-energized first,” Bellone said. 

However, there were many across the town who felt they were literally left in the dark for days, with no sign of , despite the ’s many assurances to the contrary in the week following .

Bellone sympathized with them, saying, “There really needed to be better communication with people, to tell them what was going on so that they could get a sense of comfort that things were getting done.”

In the weeks since Irene, crews have picked up tree debris, both large and small, at 1,262 locations. But there’s still more debris to be removed.

“We’re in full clean-up mode now in week three," Bellone said. "We’re going from location to location, block by block, removing debris from trees off the sides of the roads."

And what if residents haven’t seen that happening on their block yet?

“If we haven’t been to pick up to debris yet, then we will be there,” Bellone said. 

Residents with questions about tree or debris removal could call the town’s Office of Performance Management at 631-957-7474.

For those with questions about how to apply for FEMA aid, details are listed on the town’s website here.

Those details include a link to the main FEMA website and a phone number to call: 800-621-3362.

It also includes information about the newly opened opened in Suffolk County at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge.

 

Editor's Note: Deadline for registering for FEMA assistance is October 31. Details are . FEMA's in Hauppaugue closed .

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