EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 13, 2012

Valley comes to aid of storm-ravaged NY, NJ

Area business, utility and public safety agencies are flocking to storm-battered New York and New Jersey this week to help restore not just TV, Internet, and heating service, but law and order as well.

Verizon has sent 52 technicians to the area, including eight from the Methuen garage.

The Mass. State Police sent a detachment of 25 officers, including several from the Andover barracks, to New Jersey in response to a request from that state for help in dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Sandy.

And at least one local business, Merrimack Valley Corporation and Climate Design Systems of Methuen, sent a two-person team to Long Island to help restore damaged or destroyed heating and air-conditioning systems.

“A specific request has been made ... for law enforcement officers, including state police, in helping keep peace and order in the hardest hit areas of New Jersey,” said David Procopio, head of the media relations unit of the Mass. State Police.

“Troopers are reporting whole communities have been decimated, houses removed from their foundations, roads wiped out, cars completely covered in sand and area inhabitants have been displaced with little hope of getting back into their homes anytime soon,” he said. “The area is also rife with various environmental hazards. Sink holes are a constant danger with raw sewerage and debris strewn everywhere.

“There’s also the issue of people,” he added. “Residents have been actively trying to get back to their homes rendered unsafe from the storm to retrieve their belongings. Attempts have been made by vehicle, foot and by boat. Looting has been a problem for New Jersey authorities and sadly, even contractors hired to help with storm damage, have been caught cutting and stealing copper piping. Part of the primary mission for law enforcement is to help keep the area clear until it can be rendered safe and keep others from exploiting the situation and looting their neighbor’s homes.”

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