It's Business as Usual in Bloomfield After Weekend Storm
Some Basements Remain Flooded, But All Roads Open and Cleanup is Underway
Despite a storm that swept through the state late Saturday night, knocking out power, flooding homes, sending trees crashing to the ground and devastating some parts of the state, by sunny Monday morning, things were mostly business as usual throughout Bloomfield.
Most flooding in town occurred Sunday on Bloomfield and Newark avenues and parts of Franklin Street, but waters quickly receded and all roads are open, said Fred Menzel, coordinator of Bloomfield’s Office of Emergency Management.
“As soon as the rains stopped, things seemed to recede rather quickly,” he said. “Bloomfield is wide open – no more flooding, no trees blocking streets.”
Basement flooding seems to be the biggest consequence to residents.
Since Sunday, the Bloomfield Fire Department has pumped out more than 450 basements, a project Menzel hopes will be finished by later in the day today. Most residents had an average of seven inches of water in their basements, Menzel said, though a few residents flooded with as much as six feet of water, he said.
The Department of Public Works was working to clear any downed trees today and will be working on debris cleanup for the rest of the week, he said. Additionally, Menzel said he didn’t know of anyone who was without power in town.
No storm-related injuries have been reported, he said.
The Brookdale ShopRite, which Sunday night was empty and had its windows covered with tape, was bustling Monday with shoppers going about their usual chores.
“We’ve received all of our deliveries and we’re back in business,” said Neil Greenstein, the supermarket’s owner.
The ShopRite was closed Sunday for the safety of employees and customers, Greenstein said. Saturday, employees who used public transportation to get to work were sent home by 4 p.m. and the store shut down by 9 p.m.
Early Monday, Kara Morris, 28, and her boyfriend James Bace, 30, both of Bloomfield, left the store with a cart full of groceries to drive down to Cape May, where the couple had a planned weeklong vacation at a beach house before Irene hit.
The pair received word from the beach house owner it was safe to head down and continue their plans, and they were hoping to navigate the Parkway and other roads with few troubles.
Governor Chris Christie earlier had urged New Jersey residents to stay home Monday if they could, in anticipation of road troubles while flooding was still being managed throughout the state.
But Morris and Bace, both schoolteachers, were not going to allow this weekend’s weather – or the governor’s request - to stop their last vacation before heading back to work.
“Look at it outside,” said Morris. “We need a vacation.”
“I like (the governor),” Bace said while loading his truck with groceries, “but I’m not listening to him.”
Maplewood resident Stephenia Christian faced a much more difficult morning on Monday, however.
Christian, a cytotechnologist working for Quest Diagnostics in Teterboro, ended up in Bloomfield Monday morning after unsuccessfully trying to get to her office using local roads. Routes 46 and 17 were closed, she said, but she kept hitting roadblocks after attempting to navigate through flooded local streets in Clifton.
She was forced to call out of work.
Despite the governor’s advice residents try and stay home, Christian, who works in a 24/7 facility, said, “I had to at least make the effort, even if I didn’t get there.”
The Bloomfield Home Depot was busy on Monday morning as well, with contractors loading up trucks with lumber and supplies and customers lined up at registers.
Signs on the retailer’s doors, however, warned customers that a few key items were sold out: generators and sump pumps, and, most recently, wet-dry vacuum cleaners.
Assistant Manager Angelo Cutignola said given media coverage of Irene, Home Depot customers had begun shopping several days in advance of the storm, buying up generators to power refrigerators and sump pumps in the event of an outage, wood to board up windows, flashlights and other supplies.
But by the time the storm came, the store had sold out of most of the items. Generators were sold out by Friday morning, and sump pumps (including all floor models) and wet-dry vacuums were cleaned out by Sunday morning, Cutignola said.
Most sales at the store Monday were for items to help with cleanup, including buckets and mops, Cutignola said.