Nightly News   |  November 06, 2012

Marines lend a hand in Staten Island

Hiring a contractor to demolish a Sandy-ravaged home can cost thousands, but the Marines are doing it for free. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> scene in the far rockaway section of queens in new york city today. hundreds lined up to get food and water from the national guard and nypd. among the items being handed out. blankets from the new york marathon that was cancelled. in one area particularly hard hit, staten island . the problems are piling up. when you have a problem, send in the marines, well, they did, as stephanie gosk found out there today.

>> reporter: marines on patrol. this season thele monday province, it's the storm ravaged streets of long island. 50 marines in a community that need the muscle. especially the merchants.

>> it's a huge job. they said, no problem, we can do it.

>> reporter: a kindergarten teacher can't talk about her home without crying. russian immigrants, they worked for years to save enough money to buy their house. demolition is the only way to save what's left.

>> of course, it's a big help. we can't do it by ourself.

>> reporter: this is the kind of work that is needed all along this block. people are coming by to help out, but they're charging $3,000 to do what these marines are doing in here for free.

>> reporter: in just an hour, the job was done.

>> when i walked through these streets, it's like nothing i ever saw before. these homes were ripped off the foundation, fires, floods, winds. everything damaged this place so bad.

>> reporter: they said at camp lejeune they were getting ready to deploy again to the middle east when they got the call to come to staten eye land.

>> everyone's thankful to be here.

>> reporter: the marines returned to their chopper to fly back to their ship. they will be on the ground here again tomorrow. this debris field behind me is now a 24 hour a day operation. the pile already big is going to get a lot bigger, brian.

>> stephanie, i'm sitting here thinking you've been shot at while covering marines around the world. at least you're in the more hospitable climate of new york .