Hurricane Sandy cleanup on Fire Island

March 12, 2013 3:27:40 PM PDT
If you look around Fire Island, it seems like Superstorm Sandy hit just yesterday.

The homes and streets are still in really bad shape, but on Tuesday the Army Corps of Engineers removed the first piles of debris from the island.

Eyewitness News was the only station there to capture the culminating event.

"It's a big celebration for us. We finally got stuff moving and it's all going to fall into place after this," Martin Dougherty of the Army Corps of Engineers said.

We tagged along with the Corps, getting access to restricted areas of the island where they have been cleaning up since the beginning of the month.

It hasn't been easy because of the lack of roads on the island In most places they've had to literally pick up the debris piece by piece.

The Corps has only until the end of the month to finish the job, clearing debris from more than a thousand properties.

Many homes have been destroyed or will be demolished, but on the other hand there are signs of life coming back to the island. For the first time on Tuesday, a large delivery came of construction materials to help people rebuild.

"This is the first major delivery we're starting to get. This will be nonstop hopefully," resident Harry Schwarz said.

All leading up to what residents say they hope will be a productive summer tourist season, even though there's no doubt that the rebuilding will go on long after this summer.