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Westfield, NJ Police Department
Thursday September 2nd, 2021 :: 02:02 p.m. EDT


Storm Update

All streets and roads are presently open with the exception of Springfield Avenue from E. Broad Street to Mill Lane (tree down on wires; road impassable). Police remain present at the scene. 
Any vehicles that were abandoned in the roadway, and which rendered those roadways impassable to emergency vehicles and/or significantly interfered with transportation, were moved to the side of the road by the DPW using heavy machinery. Such action was necessary to allow for the passage of emergency vehicles and was done by the authority of the Chief of Police and in the interest of ensuring public safety. All of these vehicles were likely destroyed by flood waters and could not be towed in a timely manner. It is estimated that 30 to 40 vehicles moved in this manner under the supervision of DPW Director Gregory O’Neil.
All traffic lights are fully functioning, and there are no known power outages at this time. The Westfield Fire Department is currently conducting dewatering operations of private residences as a public service. Please contact the Westfield Fire Department at 908-789-4130 if you require their services.
The following notable incidents occurred during this storm:

  • A tree fell through the roof of a single story residence on the 200 block of Delaware Street. The dining room ceiling collapsed as the tree pierced the roof. One resident sustained a head laceration and was treated and transported to RWJ Hospital in Rahway by the Westfield Rescue Squad. The injury was deemed not life threatening. The residence sustained significant structural damage and is to be inspected by the Construction Official. It does not appear to be inhabitable, and the family has relocated to Clark.
  • The Westfield Fire Department rescued three staff members of Lamberts Mill Academy from the school’s rooftop who were seeking refuge when the building was rapidly inundated with rising flood waters. They were stuck up there for several hours. 9-1-1 Police-Fire-EMS dispatchers remained in telephone contact with them while they were trapped in order to ensure they remained accounted for. Numerous vehicles were completely submerged in flood waters on the 1500 block of Lamberts Mill Road in the area of the school which rose above their rooftops.
  • The Westfield Police and Fire Departments responded to and conducted numerous rescues of people trapped in submerged vehicles on streets and roadways throughout Town. Many of those rescued were transported to a temporary shelter established by the Office of Emergency Management in the Community Room. A total of 17 persons (16 adults and 1 juvenile) sought refuge there. Of those persons, three were treated immediately upon their arrival there by the Westfield Rescue Squad for exposure. One of them also sustained a knee injury during a fall. 
  • All persons at the shelter were provided with blankets, water, and snacks, and some with dry clothing. Any persons who were unable to arrange for transportation home from the shelter following the receding of flood waters were transported by the Westfield Police Department to their residences or other places of their choosing, regardless of where that location was. This included locations well outside of Union County. The shelter remained operational until approximately 2:00 AM, when the last people were transferred to a shelter at the Chisholm Community Center in Springfield, where they joined other members of their family who had been relocated there.
  • Numerous vehicles were reported floating down the 300 block of E. North Avenue and other streets, many of which had not been prone to localized flooding in the past. Some of those vehicles were occupied by persons who were rescued. A brand new police patrol vehicle was destroyed in flood waters on Mohawk Trail and another sustained damage as a result of a crash while responding to an emergency call for service in near zero visibility. A Westfield Fire Department staff vehicle was also destroyed by flood waters.
This localized flooding was unprecedented, and we commend the efforts of the Westfield Police and Fire Departments, and the Westfield Rescue Squad, which operated under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions and a great risk to their own personal safety. Their efforts were nothing short of extraordinary. During emergency conditions like this, there is no mutual aid, and every municipality operates on its own. All members of the Westfield’s Police and Fire Department’s command staff were present for duty. There were no member of service injuries reported. At this time, the Police Department is resuming normal activities. Residents are reminded to report any unsafe conditions immediately via 9-1-1. 
We expect that many of our residents sustained significant property damage. However, as a community, we are extremely fortunate there was no loss of life. Property damage in neighboring municipalities like Cranford is likely much worse than here in Westfield. Some residents have already inquired about insurance claims for damage. As of now, there has been no FEMA declaration, which can only be done by the President, and no word yet on whether or not one will be issued. Residents are encouraged to retain any and all receipts for damages incurred, and of course reach out to your insurance company first.

In order to allow for residents to dispose of any bulky waste or debris that may have resulted from the flooding, we will be waiving the Conservation Center fee for any Westfield resident for the foreseeable future. The Conservation Center will be reopening tomorrow with extended hours through the weekend from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The Town is currently exploring the feasibility of providing bulky waste pickup next week for homes that experienced severe flooding and will have details on the sign up process in the coming days. 

Thanks to all residents for their patience, and for looking out for one another in a time of need.

Westfield, NJ Police Department
425 E Broad St
Westfield, NJ 07090

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 908-789-4000

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