With the bridges out in Pittsfield, Vermont, and its 400 residents marooned, Wall Street trader Scott Redler took matters into his own hands: He hired a helicopter and was back home in New Jersey yesterday afternoon.
Redler’s family were weekend wedding guests when Hurricane Irene’s heavy rains pushed the Tweed River over its banks, smashing at least 20 homes. With his 65-year-old mother running out of medicine, Redler, T3Live.com’s chief strategist, found a pilot charging $7,000 for the rescue.
“I wasn’t going to wait for the state or federal government,” Redler, 38, said yesterday from his mobile phone as he waited for the chopper. “I can’t trust them, because I know I’m not a priority.”
Three days after Hurricane Irene’s remnants inundated the Northeast, rescuers and residents continue to battle high water in New York, New Jersey and Vermont, which suffered its worst flooding in 75 years.
During a visit yesterday to North Carolina, where the hurricane made landfall, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she spoke to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.
“We’ll work with the people of Vermont to get them back on their feet,” she said during a news conference in Manteo.
More than 200 roads were closed, isolating Chester, Rochester, Wilmington, Mendon, Killington, Cavendish, Ludlow, Middletown Springs, Granville, Stratton, Pittsfield as well as portions of Stockbridge, according to Shumlin’s office.
There were three deaths and the search was on yesterday for a missing person in Rutland, according to Susan Allen, Shumlin’s spokeswoman. There were no damage estimates, she said.
Shumlin, a Democrat, told MSNBC yesterday that he was pleased with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response.
“The federal government gets an A-plus from this governor,” Shumlin said. “They’re doing everything they know how to do.”
Thirty-five FEMA trucks carrying supplies arrived yesterday at National Guard headquarters in Colchester, where helicopters began airlifting them to cut-off towns, Allen said.
Impassable roads have cut off Dover, 15 miles from the Massachusetts border. At the intersection of Route 100 and Route 9 yesterday, a marker showed the water rose nearly nine feet, above the record marked to commemorate a 1938 hurricane.
Trapped in Killington
In environs of Killington and its namesake ski resort 10,000 people were stranded, including 2,000 vacationers from as far away as Moscow, according to Town Manager Kathleen Ramsey. The resort’s base lodge, where skiers check in, collapsed, said Jimmy LeSage, owner of the New Life Hiking Spa.
Route 4, an east-west axis, is severed in a dozen places between the nearby towns of Woodstock and Rutland, according to state officials.
Staffers at inns are hauling water because well pumps cannot work without electricity. Sergey Zaresky, 57, a guest from Chicago at the Inn of the Six Mountains, was taking pool water to flush the toilet in his room.
Stranded vacationers at Killington gazed at torn-up roads and the two resort golf courses, whose water and sand hazards have become mud pits and lagoons.
“This is off the charts,” said Whit Montgomery, 36, a Killington police officer and lifelong resident. “Just getting basic infrastructure back will take many weeks. We will be dealing with this for years.”
New York Submerged
In neighboring New York, 26 counties saw “devastating effects” from flooding, power outages and other aftereffects, Governor Andrew Cuomo told President Barack Obama in a letter yesterday requesting emergency aid.
“At least four towns and villages are or were underwater: Fleischmanns, Margaretville, Prattsville and Windham,” he wrote. “Also, towns of Middleburgh and Schoharie were completely inundated and under water, with the Middleburgh High School being completely destroyed.”
In New Jersey, 11 rivers reached or surpassed record levels and inundated thousands of homes and businesses, Governor Chris Christie said yesterday. Totowa, Fairfield and Woodland Park saw more evacuations yesterday because the Passaic River remained above flood stage, he said.
In Manville, as many as 10,000 people near the Raritan and Millstone rivers were affected. Businesses throughout Manville placed furniture on sidewalks as they bailed out.
“After the storm had passed, it’s inland flooding that’s the largest problem and we’re seeing that right now,” Christie said in a news briefing in Wayne.