Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:06 pm Last modified: 3:38 pm

Cut Off by Irma, Coral Bay Residents Pitch In, Hang On

Damage in Cruz Bay, St. John. (David Knight Jr. photo)

Damage in Cruz Bay, St. John. (David Knight Jr. photo)

Cut off from the worl by the shattering impact of Hurricane Irma, Coral Bay residents were pitching in, working together to hold on.

In a Friday afternoon interview, Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett told MSNBC News St.John had been “obliterated” by the storm.

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Source reporter Amy Roberts lives in the Coral Bay area and was able to get a cell phone call out Friday afternoon, the first word out since the storm hit Wednesday. Reception was difficult and she was interrupted periodically by the sound of helicopters flying overhead to land nearby – but that was a good thing. The helicopters were bringing help – water, food and other desperately emergency supplies.

Damage in Cruz Bay, St. John. (David Knight Jr. photo)

Damage in Cruz Bay, St. John. (David Knight Jr. photo)

While the Calabash Bloom Housing Project appeared to have survived with little damage, that was not true of Coral Bay itself, where she estimated half the houses had been either destroyed or damaged.


The Coral Bay Fire Station was destroyed, and firefighters had to flee the building as it came down around them, Roberts said.

The town’s emergency shelter had been damaged and the number of people seeking haven outstripped the supplies available.

“They’re out of cots. People are sleeping on the tables,” Roberts said, calling for donations of beds and bedding.

Damage in Cruz Bay, St. John. (David Knight Jr. photo)

Damage in Cruz Bay, St. John. (David Knight Jr. photo)

Coral Bay restaurants 420 and Dog House have been feeding the people in the shelter, she said.

Many others have been destroyed, including local landmarks Shipwreck Landing and Pickles. Skinny Legs is damaged but reportedly still standing.

The Coral Bay fire station lost part of its roof, and the Coral Bay police substation was flooded, but was still able to provide some emergency power from its generator.

The Emmaus Morvavian Church lost its roof but is still standing. Three out of the five buildings of the Guy Benjamin School “are gone,” she added.

No one was known to have been killed in the storm Wednesday, she said, although some were injured. Roads were impassable after the storm but were reopened Friday, allowing private drivers to take some of the injured to Cruz Bay.

The shelter was being run by one Red Cross staffer and four local volunteers. As people came in, they have been “deputized” if they seemed competent and given jobs to do.

Most of the 15 police officers on hand are stationed on St. John but live on St. Thomas. Three of them, Roberts said, have learned that they lost their homes and were unable to get any information about how their families are or even where they are.



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  1. lisa ott Reply

    this is ingrid zucker`s sister lisa from germany (Nürnberg)
    does anybody know how ingrid ott-zucker & eric Zucker and the kids amelie & zia are going??
    they live in Hansen Bay up the hill (east end) in st. john usvi.
    we have no possibility to get in contact with them. are whole family is desperate.
    so if anybody knows anything, please…..
    write, i would be so glad.
    thanks – lisa ott

    • Steven Cohen Reply

      Lisa –

      I am a friend of Eric’s since childhood. So relieved to hear some good news.

      If you have any direct contact with Eric and Ingrid, and there is ANYTHING we can do to be helpful, or if you just need a little support yourself, please do not hesitate to contact me.


      • lisa ott Reply

        hi steven,
        thanks so much for your interest!!
        it is amazing how many people all over the world are willing to help and give some informations. this is so friendly and it really helps.
        where do you live??
        Eric was calling his mother in connecticut (answering machine) and said they are alright. (he had the chance to talk from a satellite telephone, but just a few seconds). but as soon as i know more – i will let you know!
        best regards from lisa and thanks so much again for offering your help!!

  2. Janet Tideman Reply

    Lisa on Facebook there are a lot of groups – one you can try is Stateside St Johnians Alliance for Hurricane Irma – for people off island trying to find out what is going on. There is a ‘safe list’ they have published of people who have checked in.

  3. Janet Tideman Reply

    It says “Eric Zucker East End Wife and Children Safe” on the list

  4. Cuz Reply

    Looking for the dufers

    • Jean Reply

      Hi Cuz. Mary and Jay okay via report from Jody

  5. lisa ott Reply

    hi god morning,
    what does it mean: looking for the dufers”??

    • Rob Reply

      I’ve heard they are safe from at online roll call. You can Call me at 1-518-859-2732

      • lisa ott Reply

        thanks Rob,

        in the meantime we got a little phone call from Eric Zucker.
        so we know, they are safe!!
        the house is still standing -on top even the roof.
        pray the lord. thanks.
        best regards from germany – lisa ott

        • Anonymous Reply

          Great news!!

  6. Gary Orosz Reply

    Looking for Alli Mertz from Dennis Bay st john. If anyone has heard if she is safe, please contact me by replying here. Thank you… Gary O.

  7. Gail barnard Reply

    Is there a safe list for st Thomas? If so, how do I access it?

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