NEW YORK (CBS New York/AP) – A first-of-its-kind fire-safety push in New York City focuses on homes in areas battered by Superstorm Sandy.
The Fire Department announced the initiative Monday. FDNY representatives will visit homes in Sandy-damaged areas to assess fire safety and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The program targets people over 69. That age group represents 17 percent of the city population, but 43 percent of people who died in fires in the city last year.
Salvatore Cassano says the effort should help safeguard homes rebuilt after the storm, along with other houses. The federal Department of Homeland Security provided $590,000 for the initiative.
Some 106 fires citywide were attributed to Sandy. That includes 21 fires during the storm and 85 later blazes linked to Sandy’s damage.
Meantime, nearly a year after Sandy hit, residents of the Rockaways said there is still much work to be done despite some big progress.
“It was horrifying,” a Rockaway resident told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “You’re looking at the fires and you’re thinking ‘whose homes are they? Who is that?'”
Loretta Courtney, a mother of three with another baby on the way, said this has been the worst year of her life.
“It’s trying at times,” the Belle Harbor woman told Diamond. “My due date’s Nov. 1.”
Courtney said her due date being so close to the one-year anniversary of Sandy is bittersweet.
“Our house, it came off the structure. So it was a one-story house. It was filled with five feet of water,” she told Diamond.
The family lost everything they owned in the storm. Their new home on Beach 148th Street is finally under construction and they hope to be in by March.
“It’s part of a life experience. I told that to my kids. It was devastating and terrible but it really makes you realize what a great life we have,” Courtney told Diamond.
Some along the shore have labeled the sky-high flood insurance Sandy’s second blow, Diamond reported.
“This now has the possibility to really destroy not only our towns but hundreds of towns across the country,” Dan Mundy, president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, told Diamond. “A year later, we could deal with the hard work. I think what’s frustrating is dealing with bureaucracy. The one part that is encouraging somewhat is that it is so outrageous that it gets people’s attention.”
An act of Congress intended to save the National Flood Insurance Program had the unintended consequence of spiking the cost of coverage.