In a press release this morning from Councilman Michael Nelson restating that his office is temporarily co-locating with State Senator David Storobin, the pol revealed that, like many of us, he too ignored evacuation orders and chose to stay in his office (1605 Voorhies Avenue) and take calls. Here’s what the release said:
On the night of the storm, the Councilman recognized the importance of his personal presence in areas of his district facing danger in order to arrange last minute evacuations and to be available to meet with emergency personnel on the scene so that everything necessary could be done for the safety and wellbeing of his constituents. Unexpectedly the Councilman’s office building located a few blocks from the bay suddenly lost power and started to flood. Nelson became trapped in his District Office at the time of the storm surge. Flooding occurred in the building’s basement, lobby, and elevator shaft and reached the 3rd step leading to the Councilmember’s first floor office. In addition, his vehicle on the street was heavily damaged. Later that evening, a little after midnight, his Chief of Operations, Chaim Deutsch rescued him.
Deutsch is also the founder of the Flatbush Shomrim, and it was actually Shomrim volunteers who risked their lives drudging through the mucky waters to save Nelson. Kudos to them for their selflessness.
Nelson actually told us about the late-night, mid-hurricane rescue mission earlier this week. We asked what he was thinking by returning to his office.
“I figured, you know what, I’m a councilmember, and I needed to be here to take phone calls,” he said. “I thought I was doing the right thing, and I guess I was.”
He said he first realized it was flooding around 8:00 p.m., though the waters hadn’t entered his office. He looked out into the building’s lobby – he’s on the first floor, three steps up from the lobby – and heard a crashing sound. It was a “waterfall” coming through the elevator shaft.
“I started getting nervous,” he said, adding that he began getting visions of the movies Titanic and Poseidon. “It was a movie type of atmosphere.”
When water began to recede at 10:30 p.m., “I realized, okay, I’m not going to die here.”
He waited a few hours until conditions for Shomrim’s rescue attempt were safer, and then Deutsch and his crew helped him out of the office.
“I know we’ll laugh about this soon,” Nelson said. “I know I will.”