All Fire Island property owners from Kismet to Ocean Bay Park can temporarily return to those communities by ferry starting Wednesday, the first time they will be allowed back since a mandatory evacuation was ordered the day before superstorm Sandy struck.
After what Ocean Beach Mayor James Mallott called a successful trial run Saturday, when about 100 year-round Fire Island residents were ferried to the western Fire Island communities for several hours and then returned to the mainland, Suffolk County and the Town of Islip decided to continue limited reoccupation of the barrier island.
Wednesday through Sunday, all home and property owners will be allowed to return by ferry, subject to an abbreviated ferry schedule. They will be escorted by local fire officials, and won’t be allowed to spend the night on Fire Island, Mallott said. Residents must bring a tax or LIPA bill as well as photo identification to board the ferry. Only two people per household may come, and no pets or children younger than 16 will be permitted, as well as no carts or wagons. There is a two-bag limit per person.
“We’re gradually getting back over there,” Mallott said. “LIPA is working over there. Power is being restored slowly, but surely and safely.”
Mallott added that residents should pack a lunch, since there are no restaurants or stores open. Ferry runs could be increased, he said, depending on how this week goes.
“We’re going to re-evaluate on Sunday and hopefully start running the contractors boat on Monday morning,” he said.
The ferry won’t stop at Atlantique or Dunewood, a ferry spokesman said, because repair work is still being done on those terminals.
More information and the temporary ferry schedule are available at www.fireislandferries.com.
Above: A home damaged by superstorm Sandy in Atlantique on Fire Island. (Nov. 3, 2012)