WESTBURY, N.Y. — It's like a war zone.
That's how Town of North Hempstead Department of Public Safety Commissioner Andrew DeMartin described the scene in Nassau County after examining the destruction of Hurricane Sandy at about 7:30 p.m. as the monster storm reached full strength Monday.
"In 30 years with the fire department this is undoubtedly the worst storm I have ever seen," said DeMartin, who has held his current position for two years with the Town.
The veteran firefighter, a former chief, said through Hurricanes Andrew and Irene and any all of the others he has witnessed in more than three decades of service, Sandy's wrath is the worst of them all.
DeMartin traveled to North Hempstead Town Hall by truck from Westbury transfering a group of 311 operators from the call center at the command center which went down shortly after 5 p.m.
He said the drive took nearly an hour and a half with debris everywhere.
"The drive from Westbury to Manhasset was like a war zone.," said DeMartin to Patch. "There was literally explosions of transformers as we were trying to get there all wind related events, no rain. It was pretty unbelievable."
DeMartin said he witnessed snapped trees, poles down everywhere, trees into houses and trees on cars.
"It's a mixture between Irene and a microburst," said DeMartin, who began manning the command center in Westbury Sunday night with about 40 Town of North Hempstead personnel.
About 15 employees remained on duty as of 11:30 p.m. Sunday at the Westbury center, located at 141 Garden Street at the North Hempstead "Yes We Can" Community Center.
DeMartin said he hopes things get up and running full strength again by 8 a.m. Monday as the storm weakens.
"We are letting the guys rest. We'll get out there clearing the roads right away accompanied by LIPA teams."
His advice to residents?
"Stay off the roads. It''s no place to be," DeMartin said.