FIRST PERSON | FAR ROCKAWAY, N.Y. -- I can only wonder what is happening to my building and wondering if I will have a home to return home to.
Early on Tuesday, I received texts that at least 50 homes had burned down in the Breezy Point part of the Rockaways.
Later, I was informed from multiple sources that it would be between three and 11 days before the Rockaways would get electricity restored. Not only would it be dark, I wouldn't be able to work. With no electricity, none of the heat in our building worked. The pilot light on my stove did not work. A number of people in the area were obviously using candles, generators, or space heaters, as the temperature was dropping. But these devices can be pretty dangerous. I made the decision to leave Far Rockaway and stay with relatives in other parts of Queens. As I went to catch the bus, I saw the scaffholding on a building that was being renovated damage. The fire department officials disassembled it.
I rode the Q113 to Jamaica. On that bus, I was told that looters had left Far Rockaway and looted a Marshall's in the 5 towns part of Nassau. Many on the bus worried what looters would do in a darkened Rockaways. Other expressed concern how would they be able to leave their buildings if elevators didn't work, and if it was completely dark inside.
Once I got to the safety of my cousin's house, I saw on the news that the darkness was a contributor not only to accidental fires, but it made fighting them a lot more complicated. The Rockaways, a lovely beach front section of Queens that had been rapidly gentrifying, seemed to be gripped by fear as a number of residents contemplated living elsewhere.
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