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From Flood To Fire; Concerns for Some Storm Survivors; Storm Victim Hugs Obama; Interview with Congressman Turner

Aired October 31, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, thousands and thousands of people in a New Jersey city trapped by floodwaters. The National Guard is moving in. They are trying to move some of them out. We're going there live for you.

Evacuated residents of another town start returning home, but in the wake of the flood, they're finding heartbreak and great danger.

And a mass evacuation of hundreds of hospital patients, as New York City struggles with flooding and power outages.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


Well, there's stark new evidence today of the incredible devastation left behind by super storm Sandy. Along the New Jersey store, historic communities lie in ruins. The massive cleanup job is getting underway.

On the Hudson River, 20,000 people in the city of Hoboken are trapped by floodwaters, as the National Guard brings in supplies and brings some of the people out.

President Obama got a firsthand look at the destruction today, joining the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie.

In New York City, people returned to work, but the subways and many streets remain flooded and parts of the city still without power, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of patients now from another hospital -- hospital, Bellevue, a hospital in Manhattan.

Almost six million customers in 15 states and the District of Columbia are still blacked out. And the death toll has now reached at least 54 in the United States, 122 overall.

Residents of a New Jersey town who were rescued from floodwaters are now beginning to return home. But what they are finding is shocking, is heartbreaking and still very, very dangerous.

Our Brian Todd made it to that area. He's got a firsthand look for us -- Brian, you're back from that flooded city. You're in Hoboken now. But it was a very difficult situation, a very difficult moment for so many folks.

Tell us what you saw there.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, very difficult in a lot of cities. That area where we were earlier, very difficult for the people here in Hoboken.

The good news is the waters have receded from this intersection, have receded from this part of Hoboken, New Jersey. The waters have also receded from this part of Hoboken, New Jersey.

The waters have also recorded from Moonachie, New Jersey, where we were before.

But residents of these two cities are not out of danger yet.


TODD (voice-over): We're wrapping up an interview with the mayor of Moonachie, New Jersey. The water from a severe flood in his town is receding. People who had been evacuated are returning.

But Dennis Vaccaro has a dire warning.

MAYOR DENNIS VACCARO, MOONACHIE, NEW JERSEY: There's still potential problems. There's downed lines. We still have some downed lines. I don't know if they're live, but they've got to be careful not to tou -- touch them. And we have gas. If you have no electric, if you have your gas on, we can -- they can start a fire.

TODD: Just seconds later, we hear a crackle down the street. Fire trucks are already there. The mayor sees the house of a friend in trouble. We drive him around the block, sprint down the street and find this -- an intense house fire, crews scrambling to contain it.

(on camera): We're told that this is a small business in this building, but there are people living in some sections of that home. The mayor says that there are people living in there. He believes everyone got out. He's not sure right now. You can tell the firemen are still trying to just burrow their way in there and put out the flames.

(voice-over): They punched holes into the house for ventilation, even using a platform ladder. We're later told everyone who lives here got out during the flooding.

We catch up to a renter Tom Catherman.

TOM CATHERMAN, MOONACHIE RESIDENT: I'm just glad we left last night, so we didn't choke to death.

TODD: Fire officials believe something shorted out because the power was turned on while the water was still receding. ASST. CHIEF FRANK SMITH, MOONACHIE, NEW JERSEY FIRE DEPARTMENT: The problem is, is they're powering up all these grids. People left so quick because of the water, they left everything on. And everything is powered. We have electric going to these buildings. So everything that was damaged in water, they kick on the power, we're getting sparking outlets. We're -- we're getting the gas leaks. And this is the result.

TODD: In a town where danger still lingers, there's also heartbreak.

We're with Nick Ressa as he surveys the house his parents built in 1968. Recent basement renovations destroyed. And a dry cleaners he owns that's been devastated by flooding.

(on camera): What is your thought as you come around and assess the house...


TODD: -- that your parents lived in and your business?

RESSA: It makes you want to cry, because it's just something that you never expected to see and you worked so hard for. And to have it like this, you just really want to cry.


TODD: Nick Ressa says he and other residents of that area need help. He says they'll get what they can from insurance, but he also says they need financial help from the state, and, of course, they need help from neighbors. But with such a wide area just decimated by the storm, the flooding and the fires, that help may be a little slow in coming -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Hoboken, New Jersey, right across the river from New York City.

Brian, we're going to check back with you.

Thank you.

New Jersey's coastal communities have been devastated by the storm.

Joining us now on the phone from Toms River in New Jersey is John Saddy.

John, thanks very much.

You -- you've seen what's happened in a place called Seaside Heights. Explain to our viewers what you've seen.

JOHN SADDY: Well, today the biggest problem is the gas. There's gas lines on everywhere. The whole island smells like gas. And no one can figure out why the main lines have not been shut off. I've been there eight hours and (INAUDIBLE), Seaside Heights, (INAUDIBLE) Beach (INAUDIBLE). Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, (INAUDIBLE). There's not one New Jersey natural gas truck I've seen in eight hours there.

BLITZER: Can they get there?

How -- how difficult is it to get to Seaside Heights?

SADDY: You can now. I came over with some emergency person -- emergency personnel at 6:00 a.m.. And the road is now clear. We have to use one of the bridges. The South Side Bridge is not operating because there's power lines down. We drove on the opposite direction and we got over the bridge OK. There's just debris there, but you drive around it and you can get onto the island.

BLITZER: So you smell gas wherever you're going. And you shot this video that you're -- that we're showing our viewers right now. It looks awful, what's going on. Besides the gas, what is the worst that you saw there?

SADDY: Well, my problem -- my heart is out for the elderly. What I went -- I had to go to Lavallette to check on some friends of mine. I couldn't get to them. I couldn't reach them by phone or anything. So I was walking two towns over.

And I just heard elderly people. They were just yelling in the street, yelling through the windows. And there was nobody there. I saw one bulldozer removing a house off of the main line of Route 35. But I did not see not one emergency personnel in the whole town of Myrtle Beach (ph).

BLITZER: Have you alerted them?

What's -- what's the problem as far as...

SADDY: Actually, a...

BLITZER: -- what are they saying to you?

SADDY: I called -- I had to call Seaside Heights. I said Seaside Heights (INAUDIBLE) administrator went to Seaside Park for a rescue I alerted him of. I called our -- our fire department, which is overwhelmed. They went to Ortley when I give them the addresses. And on the way, the whole way, I went back with -- I kept going back to my nightclub, getting water and bringing it over to these individuals.

There were -- I mean this one elderly lady, she didn't even take the water. She was giving it to her pet. She said she wouldn't go to a shelter because they won't take her pets. So this is the mentality you're dealing with over there. They're elderly. I don't know how (INAUDIBLE) they are. But it was terrible.

But every time I kept walking, I just kept checking on the houses there.

But I have not seen one person...

BLITZER: And these...

SADDY: -- in Ortley Beach.

BLITZER: -- and, John, these older people, they wouldn't leave, is that what you're saying?

You offered them the help in getting out of there, but they wouldn't leave?

SADDY: Well, no. Now they want to leave. They didn't want to leave in the beginning because of the pets. Now they need to get out of there. I took all their addresses -- addresses. I assured them. And I -- I had to keep going back to Seaside Heights.

Seaside Heights is doing a -- just a fantastic job. Seaside Park and some of these towns, they (INAUDIBLE). They were not there during the hurricane. Seaside Heights, like our police chief, he just had his knee replaced. He was there 60 straight hours.

Our fire department has their families here. They were there the whole time.

Seaside Park Police Department and its fire department were nowhere to be found during the hurricane. They came over the next day.

BLITZER: We spoke to your friend, Keith Paul, yesterday. He told us he's never seen anything like this before.

Have you seen anything like this before?

SADDY: No -- no, of -- of course not. You know -- you know, today, some of the video I sent you, there's sand three blocks -- you see a boardwalk three blocks in, sand up to people's -- midway through their front door three blocks in. Here at the legendary Surf Club you're talking about, it's just gone.

So I just -- they need to get people door -- they need to get the gas off there before a fire starts. Wolf, there's no -- there's no electricity to pump water for these fire trucks to put anything out if a fire starts. They need to get the gas off and they need to go door to door over there.

I just heard the (INAUDIBLE) saying that the (INAUDIBLE) the search and rescue is over. I don't know what planet he's on.

BLITZER: So if you could speak to the governor or the president of the United States right now, what would you say?

SADDY: They need to get people door to door in the bungalows. I'm not talking about the oceanfront wealthy people like me. We have plenty of insurance and everything. Those houses are gone.

The bungalows where the elderly people are living two or three blocks in. They need to get the gas off and they need to get to these people. They have no phones. They can't call anybody.

BLITZER: Well, John, I -- I think people were watching, were listening to what you were saying.

Our heart goes out to you and everybody who's seeing what's going on. And, hopefully, they'll get into action.

I'm really worried about all those gas leaks that are coming out, because you're correct, that could be a huge, huge problem.

John Saddy from -- joining us from Toms River.

We're going to stay in close touch with you, John.

Thank you.

I want to go to Sandy Endo right now.

She's at that same location in New Jersey where the president of the United States and the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, just spoke to all of us -- and -- and you have a -- a woman that was comforted, Sandy, by the president.

What happened?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Wolf. President Obama just finished up touring this devastated area. And he mentioned all the boats that were washed into people's homes like you see here.

And this is the marina owner, Donna.

You spoke with the president and he was hugging you and you were crying in his arms.

What did you tell him?

DONNA VAN ZANDT, MARINA OWNER: I was actually shocked that he even came to Brigantine and to my marina. It was very heartwarming, actually. And for him to have the director of FEMA with him and to shake his hand and them both to say that we will get help almost immediately was very calming to me. Because when I got here today and saw all this, I did not know what I was going to do to help myself get back in order here.

ENDO: And you've been in business here, running this marina for how long?

And how much devastation will this -- does this mean for you?

How much will this cost?

VAN ZANDT: The cost I don't know, because I've never been through anything like this before. I've owned it since 1996. We've never had water levels like this, which it's like eight feet up into the garage all -- the guys' equipment, tools, power washers, everything to run the business, is gone. Our docks are all gone. Our gas pump is gone.

Our containment tank like just is laying over on its side.

There's -- I -- I don't know what it's going to take to bring it all back. A lot of work, a lot of help and a lot of money.

But it's difficult to come by right now.

ENDO: And as it was, it's hard in this economy, you were mentioning, to keep things afloat, really, here.

VAN ZANDT: Actually, yes, because this is luxury, you know. So that's one of the (INAUDIBLE)...

ENDO: Did you feel comfort in the president coming?

And did you feel like help is on the way?

VAN ZANDT: I do. I did. I felt very good after he talked to us, because it just seems like it's going to be very quick. It's not like going to be one of those red tape, long drawn out things. So I hope I can believe what he said to me. And I think I can.

ENDO: And these docks, you were mentioning, wasn't insured. And you even told the president that.


ENDO: You don't have insurance on these docks that were...

VAN ZANDT: There's...

ENDO: -- completely wiped out.

VAN ZANDT: -- there's no insurance on docks. I mean, you could get insurance, I believe, but it's so astronomically expensive that nobody has it. And the bulkhead is now caving in, too. So there's no insurance for that. I mean, bulkheading, I think, is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven hundred dollars a foot.

VAN ZANDT: Seven hundred dollars a foot. And you see the length of this property. And I can't run the business without the docks. We can get these boats all up, get things fixed on land. But without the water, there's nothing.

And that's where we need the help.

ENDO: Thank you, Donna.

I hope you get the help as soon as you can.

VAN ZANDT: Thank you so much.

Thank you.

ENDO: Wolf, let's send it back to you.

BLITZER: Sandy Endo, thanks for that report.

Meanwhile, hundreds and hundreds of patients are being evacuated from New York's flood stricken Bellevue Hospital right now.

Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in New York City.

He has the latest.

And I'll speak to the United States Congressman whose own house -- whose own house was among more than 100 that burned to the ground when the storm hit.

We're also getting new video coming in right now. There you see it right there. This is from the tour that the president made over the Jersey Shore. Much more of this, much more of our special coverage right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, right after this.


BLITZER: Thousands of people are stranded in the city of Hoboken. That's right across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Most are trapped in their apartments by hundreds of millions of gallons of water mixed with sewage.

The National Guard is bringing in supplies and bringing some people out.

Joining us now on the phone is Greg Lincoln, he's a Hoboken resident who's stranded along with his family.

What's going on where you are, Greg? Tell our viewers.

GREG LINCOLN, HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: Well, it's -- there's a lot of water. We actually just evacuated about an hour ago and headed out of the city. We were able to do that. A lot of people from the building where I live in were getting on the National Guard trucks and getting out. We've been without power for two days. And we're looking for relief.

Those water had started to fail as well. We were concerned about just the generator that was keeping the lights on and some electricity in the lobby of the building as well. We didn't know if they were going to get fuel for that. But the mayor and the National Guard stopped by, gave us an update on the situation. And gave us the chance to evacuate if we wanted to.

BLITZER: You're there with your wife and three kids. And one of your children only 7 months old, is that right?

LINCOLN: Yes. Yes. She's 7 months old. She's taking it in stride.

BLITZER: Is everyone taking it in stride?

LINCOLN: Not too bad. The other kids a little bit restless. And didn't like the fact that it was hard to do anything after dusk.

BLITZER: Yes. There's no power. There's no TV. There's no electricity. So where are they taking you? Where are you going?

LINCOLN: Well, we actually evacuated in our -- in our vehicle. We were able to get on a little sidewalk and get out into Jersey City Heights. We're actually in New Brunswick at the moment. And just trying to get a hotel here somewhere. But you know we're OK. But you know, we're not sure when we're going to be able to get back.

BLITZER: Yes. What about your neighbors and your friends in your community there?

LINCOLN: Yes. Actually, the neighbors were great. We -- they were -- our kids and the other neighbor kids were playing Monopoly and some other games last night. But it was a very communal feel in the -- in the lobby. You know, everybody would go and exchange news and stories about what they'd heard and everything. But it was very difficult to get information just with the lack of cell phone service and Internet service.

So it was really, really hard to judge what was going on and how long things would be and when it would come. But, you know, at least finally the mayor came and made an appearance and let us know kind of what the situation was.

BLITZER: The Mayor Dawn Zimmer. So do you have any idea when you might be able to go home? When power will be restored?

LINCOLN: Well, the information we have is that power will hopefully be restored in seven to 10 days. They need to wait for the waters to completely recede before they can even work on the power. PSE&G have notified us of that. But because of the substations, they had to turn them off, were under water essentially. So all that water needs to be just taken out. I know Hoboken just was critically affected by this storm.

BLITZER: Well, good luck, Greg Lincoln. Good luck to your wife, your three kids, your entire community. Appreciate your sharing your story with us.

LINCOLN: No problem. Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Let's bring in Chad Myers, our severe weather expert, our meteorologist.

Chad, we're getting new pictures, new video coming in from the shoreline. Video that was taken during the president's tour of the Jersey Shore together with the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. And it shows still obviously a lot of devastation.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it does. Especially where they are. They were very, very close to the eye. Not only wind damage but surge damage. And talking about surge, here's New York harbor. Here's the bottom part of Manhattan. The big island here, Staten Island, we haven't focused on that very much. But there's some significant damage there.

Some disturbing pictures here. I'm going to show you some of the flyover pictures that we literally just got from that part of the island, right here, that shoreline right through here. That -- we're going right through there. And the pictures you see there on the side of your screen, boy, I'll tell you what. Those are all over. That was a 12-foot surge that took these boats, pushed them into the homes, homes off their foundation.

So if you're anywhere between six and most people about eight feet above sea level, you have between six and four feet of water in your home there on the shores of Staten Island. And it was the same surge that we've saw in New York City up into the east side all along where the hospitals are now being evacuated and also of course into Hoboken. It was the same water, the same surge, the same high tide.

This is the first pictures, though, we've seen from Staten Island. And they are equally as disturbing as we've see in other parts of New York and New Jersey -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Looks like those boats are little toys just stacked upon each other.

MYERS: That's how high the water went.

BLITZER: I don't know, what could they have done to prevent this?

MYERS: Well, they could have double tied a lot of them. But there you see those little sticks that are sticking out of the water right there, that's where the dock was. So you can't do much when the dock actually gets thrown away as well. The dock torn up and thrown with the boats.

Here you see these boats. This is right near the park just thrown right on to the shore here. Nice protected cove. Actually, there wasn't probably much wave action in here. There's a great little hook come down there by that cove to protect this little inlet. But the water goes up, the boats lose their tie and all of a sudden you pull the cleats out of the dock or pull the cleats out of the boat, those boats are going to float and go.

BLITZER: Yes, you see them up there. All right. Chad, don't go away.

New Yorkers are suffering a nightmare commute in Sandy's wake. A mass transit is beginning to come back, but it could be a while before some cars are allowed into the city. Up next, we have details on new restrictions the New York mayor's enforcing.


BLITZER: All right. Take a look at this new video we're just getting in. This is the tour that the president of the United States took together with the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of the New Jersey shore. You can see Marine One chopper right there in the screen over there. This is from a second chopper following Marine One with a pool of television journalists on board. What the president saw you're seeing right now. And there will be closer shots of what Jersey Shore that showed the devastation of what happened up and down the Jersey Shore when floods came in, the sand started piling up, and there was severe, severe destruction.

The president, as you heard earlier, was clearly moved by what he saw. So was the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They have been working in both of their words incredibly close over these past 48 to 72 hours to deal with this crisis as a result of this superstorm Sandy.

There you see some of the other pictures that have come in showing the continued devastation from Sandy. These are the images that the president once again saw as he flew with -- on aboard Marine One over this area with Chris Christie.

The president praised the New Jersey governor as someone who has put his heart and soul into this effort and he's doing whatever he can to make sure the people of New Jersey recover from this.

And this is new video as well. You can see the destruction. And take a look, this is new video that we're also getting. A live picture we're getting from -- that were getting from our affiliate WABC.

Look at that destruction. Look at that home that was literally destroyed as a result of what we saw.

We're just beginning to grasp the enormity of this crisis. This is a huge, huge crisis. And with each hour we see the power of this storm, the devastation as it has increased and caused death and devastation and destruction.

Powerful, powerful image right there.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in New York City, ambulances are lined up outside New York's Bellevue Hospital right now where a source tells CNN 700 patients either already have or are in the process right now of being evacuated due to trouble with generators being pumped by oil, powered by oil pumps submerged in eight feet of water at that medical facility.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the scene for us. He's joining us now with the very latest.

Update our viewers, Sanjay. What happened there and what's going on now?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're seeing a full scale evacuation of one of the biggest hospitals in the country, Wolf. It's a pretty remarkable thing. I saw something similar to this during Hurricane Katrina. But not since then. Bellevue Hospital is actually the oldest continuously running hospital in the country. Typically can hold about 900 patients. You know, the critically ill patients over the last 24 hours have been evacuated. But, Wolf, there's just been this steady stream of ambulances that have been going back and forth down this alleyway, picking up patients and taking them to hospitals all over the city.

Just a little while ago, Wolf, we saw about maybe 25 to 50 National Guard members as well walked, literally marched down that way as well, probably to help in the process of perhaps carrying some of these patients down several flights of stairs. We know that there's no power inside that obviously, no elevators. So it's a lot of work. Some of these patients simply need to be carried down as well.

We're also hearing that in a short time, probably in just a few minutes from now, there'll be a press conference as well to describe exactly in more detail what is happening inside.

But as you mentioned, Wolf, you know, there's generators all over that hospital. The problem is the pumps that pump the oil to the generators were submerged. They've been carrying oil up 12 flights of stairs to try and power the one last generator that was working about 1:00 today. There was an official announcement that they would stop -- that that was going to stop and they were going to evacuate the patients instead.

That's what's still happening behind me here, Wolf. I think it's going to be a couple of days, frankly, based on the pace that they're going to try and remove all these patients from the hospital.

BLITZER: And it's a dangerous operation to move people in intensive care, whether elderly or newborns, move them under these kinds of circumstances to another hospital in New York. Could be potentially very dangerous.

GUPTA: You know, even moving patients within a hospital can be dangerous. If someone has several I.V. lines, for example, or a breathing tube, those things, you know, they become disconnected. When you're in the hospital you obviously have a lot of resources.

Here you're taking patients outside the hospital, putting them in an ambulance, taking them to another hospital. So there's lots of steps to that, that has to be very well coordinated and time is of the essence. Typically when a transport occurs, Wolf, it's one patient or two patients perhaps. In this situation we have the entire hospital essentially moving to several different hospitals. So it is -- it is an enormous process.

I don't know how much you can tell, Wolf, behind me there's a lot of, obviously, police, there's fire department on standby, National Guard. There's three blocks of National Guard vehicles sort of lined up not too far from here. Just beyond that area is the East River. Relevant because that was probably the source of much of that flooding that you just described -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sanjay, thanks very much. We'll stay in close touch with you as well. Bellevue Hospital right now, 700 patients being evacuated. They've lost power there for a variety of reasons.

I want to show you these pictures courtesy of our affiliate WABC. These are live pictures once again showing the destruction, the devastation from the superstorm that's been called Sandy.

We'll continue our special coverage right after this.


BLITZER: New York City is struggling to get back on its feet. Subways remain flooded, many neighborhoods are blacked out, mass transit is beginning to come back into service but it will be a commuting nightmare for some time to come.

Let's go live to our national correspondent Jason Carroll. He's standing by.

Where are you, Jason, and what are you learning?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm on the Manhattan side of the Queens Borough Bridge, Wolf. We're in the east, nightmare is the way to describe it. Take a look behind me. You can see the -- thousands upon thousands of people, this is what we've been witnessing throughout the day, walking across bridges like the Queens Borough Bridge.

We've also seen it happen on the Brooklyn Bridge. Right here at this intersection is started to get so crowded they finally brought some out traffic officers to take care of things here.

Across the street there, you see the other way people have been trying to get around without subways, without trains. They're taking the few buses that are running throughout the city. That line there just sort of wraps around on itself. The people that we've been talking to say they've been waiting at least four hours just to get a bus. The keyword for all the commuters throughout the day has been patience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's insane. It's like we knew it was going to be bad coming in this morning, but we didn't know it was going to be this much of a standstill in the traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What gave you guys the idea to start walking?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We moved in 45 minutes about seven blocks. So we said we can walk faster than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's crazy. But everyone's doing what we have to do. That's what we do in New York City.


CARROLL: A bit of encouraging news coming from New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Very quickly, let me just show you what's happening. There are some people hopping over the fence there, just trying to take a shortcut to get on the Queens Borough Bridge.

But just a bit of encouraging news coming from New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, within the next 24 hours, we will see some limited restoration of service on some of the trains. Also limited subway service will resume. That will be starting tomorrow morning.

Also another point that the mayor wanted to make and that has to do with cars trying to come into the city tomorrow. This is only for noncommercial traffic, Wolf, coming into the city on all crossings. You have to have at least three people in your car on all crossings with the exception of the George Washington Bridge.

Again, this is what he's trying to do to alleviate the traffic congestion here in the city of Manhattan as they try to recover from Hurricane Sandy -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Stand by for a moment. I want Chad Myers to participate in this conversation with you as well, Jason.

Chad, go ahead.

MYERS: The MTA map of what's open tomorrow morning and what's not is now posted. You can go to my Twitter feed, you can look at MTA Insider on Twitter as well, or you can go to

Here you go. This is northern parts of Manhattan and up here toward the Bronx. Most of the lines are working tomorrow. We're going to slide you a little bit farther to the south and show you where those lines actually stop.

Shawn, go ahead and slide that for me, would you? Shawn? No? Shawn? Never mind. I'll get back to you on that one -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What we were told earlier, we spoke to the head of the MTA that really below 35th or 30th Street --


BLITZER: -- in lower Manhattan there's not going to be any subway service because of images like this. Water still there, military units are going in, they're trying to get that water out. It's going to take days, though, in some of those subway stations to clean out those areas.

Jason Carroll, you're on the scene for us. We were told that the buses were working. But what, to wait three or four hours for a bus, that's going to be a problem to get on a bus.

CARROLL: Yes. At least. Yes, I mean, at least three or four hours to get on some of these buses. And you know, look, you hear the good and the bad. You hear the good stories of people saying, you know, there's an elderly person in line, let that person go ahead of me so they can get on the bus or take a seat. And then you heard the flip side of it as we were -- in lower Manhattan earlier today this is below 34th street, I ran into a couple and they were trying to get a taxi, Wolf. Couldn't get a taxi. Trying to share a taxi. Couldn't do that. Finally a car pulls up and says get in, I'll take you over, but I'm going to charge you $50 to get across the Brooklyn Bridge.

So you have -- we have seen some of that gouging as well. So you hear the good, you hear the bad, you see the good and you see the bad.

BLITZER: Certainly do. All right. Jason, thanks for that report.

Chad, we're going to get back to you.

More than 100 homes burned to the ground. And a scene one United States congressman says looked like something out of "Gone with the Wind." Up next, I'll ask him how he's recovering after losing everything in the storm including his home.


BLITZER: We just learned that LaGuardia Airport will reopen tomorrow morning 7:00 a.m. Eastern. JFK already open. Newark open. LaGuardia Airport will reopen tomorrow morning.

I'm sure a lot of folks will be happy to hear that.

Superstorm Sandy hammered so many states so hard that there are very real concerns about the impact on next Tuesday's voting. All that destruction and disruption has certain election officials scrambling right now.

Let's bring in our chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, the anchor of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."

Candy, what do you think? Will there be major disruptions next Tuesday?

CANDY CROWLEY, ANCHOR, CNN'S STATE OF THE UNION: Well, certainly in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, you have to think that there probably will be. In particular New Jersey and New York. I would be more worried at this point if I were down ballot in one of those races. The -- I think the presidential race in New Jersey is going to go Democratic, New York is going to go Democratic, Maryland is going to go Democratic. Virginia, they seem to have had -- I talked, in fact, to the governor last week and he said, we've got lots of plans in place. We're going to extend voting hours, we can do a lot of different things.

So in total I don't know how much effect it has on the presidential race, but you start to look at those down ballots in specific states where it's just the state vote and I think you're looking at some problems.

BLITZER: Yes. What we saw today in New Jersey was pretty amazing when you think about it. Only days -- first of all, the destruction, but the president of the United States touring that area with the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, in a watched -- they saw some of these sights that we were showing our viewers right now. And there were a few -- their respective praise for each other which is pretty amazing, only a few days before the election.

Given the history -- I'm going to play a couple of clips. This is the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie back at the end of August at the Republican convention in Tampa. Then what he said on Tuesday in the aftermath of this destruction. Listen to this.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We ended an era of absentee of leadership without purpose or principle in New Jersey. I'm here to tell you tonight it is time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders back to the White House. America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. And we need them right now.

Right now I'm much more concerned about preventing any other loss of life, getting people to safe places. And then we'll worry about the election. The election will take care of itself. I've spoke to the president three times yesterday. He's been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state. And not once did he bring up the election.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Is there any possibility that Governor Romney may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?

CHRISTIE: I have no idea. Nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I've got a job to do here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I've got 2.4 million people out of power. I've got devastation on the shore. I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me.


BLITZER: Yes. He's a strong, strong guy. And only an hour ago after his tour with the president he's got a great working relationship with the president. They've been working incredibly closely over these past couple of days. The president, he says, sprung into action. He was very effusive in his praise.

CROWLEY: He was but here's the really good news. When something awful happens, we do tend to transcend politics to a certain degree. Let us take both of these men at their words. This is an awful, people have died, people may still be dying, they've lost everything they have and this brings out the humanness even in politicians.

So that's the good news. Now if you were going to parse this politically you would know that Chris Christie has re-election next year. If he doesn't handle this carefully, he's done. Because we've seen, you know, governors that are swept out when they didn't clear the roads in a big snowstorm. It just happens the closer you are to ground zero in a disaster like this, if you're a politician and are seen as not acting, you're out.

So he's got lots of reasons. We hope that for both the president and the governor these are humanitarian reasons. And I believe them.

For the president, he had no choice. This is -- I mean, everyone told biggest storm we've ever seen, biggest storm of our lifetime. The president had to act. So the two of them are acting together in concert because they care about people who are dying and suffering I think is like, hey, thumbs up.

BLITZER: Yes. They're both doing exactly what they should be doing as the governor of New Jersey and the president of the United States.


BLITZER: There's plenty of time for campaigning. I think the president will resume his campaigning tomorrow.

CROWLEY: Tomorrow. Right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Candy, for that.

We're getting new video from the tour, by the way, that the president took. We'll show it to you along the Jersey Shore.

Also, my conversation with the United States congressman whose house burned down as a result of this superstorm.


BLITZER: This is all that's left of more than 100 homes in Queens in New York City. Among those who lost everything, a United States congressman.

And Congressman Bob Turner of New York is joining us now.

Congressman, we're so sorry to hear about this huge, huge loss. I know all of our hearts go out to you and your family, your friends, your loved ones. Tell us what happened and how you learned about what happened.

REP. BOB TURNER, HOME BURNED TO GROUND IN SANDY: Well, so we could -- I could see the flames from a single house, but with 60 and 100 miles an hour gusts of winds. It didn't take long for conflagration to start, and because of the tidal surge, no emergency vehicles could get there for a couple of hours. It's -- it took on a life of it's own. And as the tide receded the fire department, both the volunteers and the New York City did a wonderful, heroic job of getting in -- getting water on this.

BLITZER: You had evacuated earlier. Is that right?

TURNER: I evacuated later, later than I should have, maybe, but I was glad I was there.

BLITZER: You saw the flames engulf your own home?

TURNER: No, I knew which way they were headed, so I was out of harm's way at that point.

BLITZER: That whole area had been evacuated. You say it took at least two hours maybe longer for firefighters to reach the scene, but by then, what, dozens and dozens of homes have been burned?

TURNER: That is correct, and there is no way that the engines could get through what was about five feet of water on the road.

BLITZER: Were you able to take anything out of the home before you and your family left?

TURNER: No. So a lot of good memories went up in spoke, but still got them between my ears so --


BLITZER: So all your family photos and your --

TURNER: Yes, that kind of -- kind of great stuff. But -- and, you know, my heart goes out to many of my neighbors that don't have the number of options that do I, and this is a very tough time for them. But some of the emergency services and both FEMA and the city of New York on the scene have been very helpful. And we're trying to get an emergency center set up in the Rockaways. This is a big area and also covers a lot of Brooklyn, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach. Terrible devastation and water damage. A lot of problems in the Rockaway, but --

BLITZER: It's awful, it's awful indeed, and it's heartbreaking. Have you been back to your neighborhood?

TURNER: Oh yes. yes.

BLITZER: And so when you walked around and you saw these dozens and dozens of homes, your friends, your family's homes, destroyed, give us the emotional feeling that went through your mind.

TURNER: It is just heartbreaking. And while I was there, the mayor came by and City councilwoman -- Speaker Quinn, and we had -- the mayor had a mutual friend whose house was destroyed and we were watching some people just coming in even though they knew what happened. When they saw it, it was just awful.

BLITZER: How long have you lived in Breezy Point?

TURNER: Both as a summer and full-time resident, about 32 years.

BLITZER: Thirty-two years in this one community. And I know it's a special community and special people live there, tell us a little bit about your neighborhood. TURNER: It's a beach community that is about 100 years old. It's close knit, and because it's in the middle of a state park, of a national park, Gateway, and on a peninsula, it's kind of (INAUDIBLE) community is such that everyone just about knows everyone else. And over 2,000 homes on Breezy Point.

BLITZER: And I'm told a lot of firefighters, police officers live in that neighborhood, is that right?

TURNER: Historically when the community was first -- major development was 1929, and the only people that had any money after the depression were cops and firemen, and some of these are now a third generation or descendants of city workers, so it has that unique flavor to it.

BLITZER: How are your neighbors holding up?

TURNER: They're a tough group, they really are. This is sad. They're a prayerful group. They pray for each other and they help one another. And now we're thinking about rebuilding.

BLITZER: Really? You think that neighborhood can be rebuilt after all this devastation?

TURNER: I can guarantee it.

BLITZER: And you're going to try and you're going to -- your home, you want to rebuild your home right in that lot where it was?

TURNER: Yes, and you know because of the extent of this, I don't know if we can have 100 individual projects, we might have to figure out as a community how we're going to do this, but we'll get through it. And it is a co-op, so people have the site rights, and they own their homes, so, but collectively we'll work something out here.

BLITZER: We wish Congressman Turner and all of his family and his friends, all of his colleagues over there, only the best in rebuilding that beautiful community.

We're also learning right now at least 14 people were killed in Staten Island alone. Three people including two children remain missing. We'll have the latest. That's coming up.


BLITZER: Happening now, dramatic rescues and a shocking death toll from superstorm Sandy. In one New York City borough, Staten Island.

A mass evacuation at a major New York City hospital under way right now. Seven hundred patients are forced to leave.