About half of Fanwood residents and roughly a quarter of Scotch Plains residents are without power, and hundreds of basements have flooded, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Scotch Plains Township Manager Christopher Marion said in telephone interviews late Sunday morning.
Five families in the Bayberry Apartments off Lake Avenue were evacuated to a Clark shelter due to flooding, Marion said. One Fanwood family was also evacuated after a tree fell on its house.
A Scotch Plains resident suffered a heart attack late Saturday night, Marion stated. Details regarding the incident are still being confirmed. No serious injuries were reported in Fanwood.
Power may not be restored for all homes until next Monday, Sept. 5, Mahr wrote in an email distributed Sunday evening.
PSE&G spokeswoman Erica Lembo, contacted by telephone Sunday afternoon, said, "We don't have specific restoration times or projections at this point, in part because flooding affects operations." She referred questions to a press release distributed at 1:30 p.m., which states, "PSE&G crews as well as tree contractors are working around the clock in restoration efforts, but customers should be prepared for potentially lengthy outages."
Scotch Plains TV was unable to broadcast Sunday due to the power outage, Marion said.
Four police vehicles were unable to be used after trying to get through the heavy flooding on township roads, Marion added, notably on Park Avenue between East Second Street and Mountain Avenue, and Terrill Road at East Second Street. As of noon Sunday, however, flood waters had receded from most of the township and the borough roads.
"I think that, all considering, we've come out of this hurricane pretty good, considering the severe damage we could have experienced," Mahr said.
Members of the Scotch Plains Department of Public Works have been on the road since about 8 p.m. Saturday, working to clear roads of debris.
"We've been going nonstop, cutting trees, putting up barriers," said DPW employee Warren McCoy, who watched as a bulldozer pushed a downed tree from Black Birch Road. He lives in a second-floor apartment in Piscataway. "I call home to see if my answering machine's working. If it's working, I figure I have power."
In Fanwood, residents walked the streets, checking on neighbors, surveying damage, and swapping stories from the night before. On Marian Avenue, residents milled around a tree that had fallen across the road, its stump forcing the sidewalk about five feet into the air.
"I slept through this," Patricia Kirschling, of 218 Marian Road, said. "The noise from the police and fire trucks woke me up." She said that, now that she's up, she plans to spend the day reading and cleaning up.
"We want to make sure everybody stays safe, stays in their homes, and let's the emergency services do what they need to do," Marion said.
Mahr urged residents to "have a lot of patience" and to "use 911 only for emergencies."
Stores in downtown Scotch Plains and Fanwood were closed, although Dunkin Donuts and some convenience stores were open.