Broad Channel’s Own B.C.P.D.
Seeing the large painted letters ‘B.C.P.D.’ stretched across a house on East 9th Road just after Sandy, one man remarked, “I didn’t know Broad Channel had its own police department.” “Now it does,” remarked the man standing next to him. In the days after the storm first swamped and then cut off the island town from the outside world, a group of about 20 men banded together to, as the Daily News put it, “aid their community in any way they could.” As firefighter Leo Chavanne, who brought together the group, explained to the News, “We needed to get started right away, so I called a bunch of guys and we got to work.”
Work for the BCPD included clearing hurricane debris, cleaning out houses, removing furniture, appliances, belongings and walls and floors that got soaked. They repaired storm swept boilers and fixed generators so homes would at least have lights, heat, hot water and maybe even cooking ability.
They also siphoned the gasoline out the hundreds of cars Sandy destroyed to power generators. In some cases they tilted the vehicles up on jacks or removed the fuel tank altogether to get to the last drops. Fuel was almost impossible to get in all parts of the city.
Well before any official help arrived on the island, they also went door to door, with tools in hand, checking to see what neighbors needed. In one day they cleared up to 20 homes. Jennifer Dady, whose husband Jay worked alongside Chris Horn and Tom Traeler with the BCPD, explained this is typical of Broad Channel. Interviewed in the November 2nd edition of the Wall Street Journal, she said, “That’s the kind of neighborhood it is. We all help each other. If I had a stove, I would be baking. Everyone would have muffins in the morning.” When asked by WSJ, Kit Uvino, who used her camping equipment to make coffee for neighbors and small generators to charge their cellphones, put it another way. “It’s neighbors helping neighbors. I have 12 pairs of socks; you have 12 pairs of shoes, so let’s make 11 people happy. That’s what happens here. There’s no government down here,” she said shortly after the storm, “so we help our own.”