We received the above photo from Missy Haggerty, the Lake Avenue resident who helped lead dozens of neighbors to safety out of the flooded corridor during Superstorm Sandy.
Missy tells us the bungalow courts remain underwater even as most of the water from this morning’s flash floods have receded elsewhere. The courts are below street level, and the drains – which, we’re told, are not connected to city sewer lines – were still clogged from Sandy, causing all the water to back up.
Residents are using pumps to get the water out now, and we’re told by a rep in Councilman Lew Fidler’s office that they’re working to get the Department of Environmental Protection on scene to help pump the water out of the alleyways.
The Bay Improvement Group boogied down and gave props up last Thursday night at their annual Oscars gala, when it celebrated a pack of heroes who went above and beyond to help neighbors during Superstorm Sandy.
Learn about the honorees, and view photos from the event.
The only entrance to Lake Avenue became impassable once water started tumbling down from Emmons Avenue, and debris littered the alleyway.
There is no shortage of heroes that came out of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but it seems everyone on Lake Avenue agrees that two quick thinking residents of their bungalow colony and a nearby landlord are their first first responders.
The Nostrand Avenue condo building where Lake Avenue residents found refuge from the flood.
One of several Lake Avenue buildings that are now deemed uninhabitable by the Department of Buildings.
When flood waters breached the bulkhead of Sheepshead Bay and engulfed Emmons Avenue, it advanced forward, rushing into the bungalow colony alleys located below street level. With no drainage systems, approximately 60 residents of Lake Avenue – just off Nostrand Avenue and Emmons Avenue – realized their one-story bungalows were about to be submerged.
“All of a sudden the water started pouring into the house. My 94-year-old father and I live in the house together,” said Lake Avenue resident Wendy Mitchell.
That’s when neighbors Missy Haggerty and Peter McCandless rushed out of their homes and began banging on doors, telling people to get out. Some were sleeping or in the middle of eating dinner, and looked up the block to see a waterfall rushing down the steps into the colony’s dead end alley.
“I got out and I’m trying to hold the door open [for my 94-year-old father] and Peter got him out finally,” Mitchell said. “When we first left, the water was up to the knees. By the time we got about five houses down it was under my arms. I’m five-foot-five and it was under my arms.”
Mitchell said she never would have been able to get out of there if it weren’t for Missy and Peter – and the landlord of a nearby building that abuts the alley.
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UPDATE (7:15 p.m.): This one’s a doozie. The important details: two homes were involved – 8 and 9 Lake Avenue. The fire originated in 8 Lake Avenue, destroying the house, and doing massive damage to the home next door. Firefighters were able to extinguish the majority of the flames in about 20 minutes, but spent the next two hours eliminating any other potential risks.
No one was hurt, though there did appear to be a tremendous amount of property damage.
There’s a lot more to this story that Sheepshead Bites will bring you tomorrow morning, including photos, video and neighborly feuding. But, for now, I’ve stood out in the cold, destroyed my sneakers, and most of my clothes smell of the fire. I’ve earned a break.
Original post (5:23 p.m.):
We’ve just received word of a fire at Emmons Avenue and Lake Avenue. We’re told it’s a two alarm fire, and is affecting two buildings.
This location is the site of tightly-packed bungalows, and if it is deep in the “colony” it may be difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze. We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.
This is a breaking news story and may have inaccuracies. It is subject to change. If you have information, photos or video, please e-mail us at nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.
Thanks to Dan Cavanagh of GerritsenBeach.net for tipping me off to the fire, and then persistently annoying me to credit for said tip.