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Storage Containers Key While Homes Being Repaired

Credit: Joseph Kellard
Credit: Joseph Kellard
Story by Jeff Lipton

Since Hurricane Sandy carved a destructive path through Long Beach nearly two months ago, storage containers have been popping up in driveways throughout the city.

Residents have contacted companies such as PODS Enterprises [Portable On Demand Storage] to rent these storage containers to keep furniture, valuables and other family possessions safe while their storm-ravaged homes are restored and renovated.

“In fact, at the beginning a lot of people were having trouble getting them,” said Long Beach Buildings Commissioner Scott Kemins.

“They are a safe and secure place to keep belongings that have been salvaged while homes are being repaired. “Our job is to expedite people getting back into their homes and if PODS can help with that, then it’s a big part of the recovery effort,” added Kemins, adding that the number of storage containers emerging in the community has been staggering. “We’ve gotten a lot of people inquiring about them, asking us if they can put them in their driveway.”

John Bornmiller, general manager of PODS on Long Island, said his company has barely been able to keep up with demand, with the most requests for service coming from Long Beach.

“That poor community of Long Beach, we’ve been out there so much,” said Bornmiller. “We got flooded with calls from there when the storm hit.”

More than 1,400 storage containers have been shipped to Long Island post-Sandy, including 900 foldable storage units that are so compact that they could be sent 16 at a time instead of three in one shot, said Bornmiller.

Immediately after the storm there was such demand that PODS experienced a two-week waiting list. But residents were thrilled that the storage services were available to them.

“Long Beach residents were hugging our drivers and smiling because they were so happy to see them and that they were there to help them out,” said Bornmiller. “It was crazy.”

The company’s 14-truck drivers were working 14-hour days and 22 days straight, Bornmiller said.

“When Long Beach residents would see one of our drivers in the neighborhood, they would run out of their house and ask how they could get one,” he added. “Our workers put their own lives and families on hold to help Long Beach out,” he said. “They have a sense of responsibility to help the community.”

He said the stories of victims in Long Beach have been so heart-wrenching, including one elderly couple who had four 4 of water in their basement and needed to protect their belongings. But they were afraid the container would damage their driveway so they had it propped up on cider blocks.

He said the storage containers, which measure 8-feet wide, 8-feet high and 16-feet long, can be rented on a monthly basis or for two to three years. The containers, Bornmiller said, are extremely spacious.

“You could fit a three-room house in one of them,” he said.

The monthly cost can be up to $209.99 and customers could have a container delivered and set up in their driveway or use one of four PODS’ rental warehouses in Jamaica, Queens, Bethpage, Calverton or Hauppauge.

Bornmiller said after the superstorm the number of PODS’ storage containers in use on Long Island increased from 2,110 to 3,284. P

ODS also provides moving services if residents so desire.

Kemins said the recovery effort in Long Beach has been moving along. “A lot of people’s homes are being repaired and a lot of people are moving back into their homes,” said Kemins. “We’re definitely moving forward.”
Eddie December 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
The Building Department has been great throughout this entire ordeal. Great leadership, great people. They will be remembered for all their help!
water guy December 29, 2012 at 07:09 AM
I was able to get one on line within a few minutes, guess it was a smart idea to do it a month ago......
Misty December 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM
We got one at the end of November after reserving it at the beginning of November. I tried to get a permit through the building dept. who advised me to go to the police dept. who told me to go to the building dept. That is when I got one without a permit hoping there would be no problems. Trust me, I'd rather not have one at all. It holds all the furniture that I think we salvaged. The sooner it is off my property, the better - that means I will be living back home again.

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