Westfield Post-Sandy Update for Thursday, Nov. 1: What You Need to Know
Westfield public schools remain closed Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Nov. 2.
As residents and local businesses struggle to recover from the devastation of Sandy, the Town of Westfield is asking everyone to be patient as recovery efforts are underway.
According to the Town of Westfield, approximately 50 homes sustained damage from uprooted trees or fallen limbs and 90 percent of the homes in Westfield lost power.
While PSE&G said they have, “assembled a ‘virtual army" of over 1,550 technicians -- 600 PSE&G workers and 950 workers from across the country -- plus an additional 600 contractors to cut and remove trees, the restoration of power could take days to possibly weeks.
Rumors that water supplies will be cut are false, said Mayor Andy Skibitsky in an updated message to residents issued Wednesday evening. (See below)
The Conservation Center is expanding its hours today and tomorrow to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Access is from Rahway Avenue only.
Kings, Pathmark, and ShopRite in Garwood all have power.
The Westfield Memorial Library will open at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The library has heat and Internet service.
The following is an update from Skibitsky:
- URGENT: Please do not go near any downed wires. Assume every wire is a live wire.
- URGENT: The Fire Department issued the following warnings: Do not run any type of fuel-powered equipment inside of your home or in any enclosed space such as a garage, even if the garage door is open. This includes generators, gas grills, charcoal grills and portable fire places. All equipment should be at least 15 feet from your home. Running fuel powered equipment in or too close to an enclosed structure, including a garage with its door open, can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure all candles and all fires inside an approved wood burning stove or fireplace are attended to at all times.
- Hurricane Sandy left unimaginable devastation all across New Jersey in its wake. To reiterate, though Westfield was spared flood and water damage, the 70+ mile per hour sustained winds caused many trees and heavy branches in town to fall, blocking roadways and bringing live wires down. Approximately 50 homes sustained damage from uprooted trees or fallen limbs and over 90% of the homes in Town lost power. I have been, and will continue to be, in contact with PSE&G regarding restoration efforts. According to PSE&G, they have, “assembled a ‘virtual army’ of over 1,550 technicians -- 600 PSE&G workers and 950 workers from across the country -- plus an additional 600 contractors to cut and remove trees.” Nevertheless, due to the extent and severity of the outages across the state, PSE&G reported that it may take days and possibly weeks to restore all power. In addition to restoring the power lines in Westfield that were dragged down by the fallen trees and limbs, 6 PSE&G substations around the region that service Westfield must be repaired and brought back online. I can assure you that I, along with your State representatives and Governor Christie, are advocating on your behalf. It is understood that being without electricity may be a major inconvenience or hardship, but please keep in mind that the time it will take to get all power restored is not due to a lack of concern or effort, but rather due the magnitude of the damage to the infrastructure caused by the historic storm.
- The Town has all its resources mobilized to deal with the aftermath of the storm. Please remember that the Department of Public Works cannot remove any tree or branch that has wires near or embedded in them. PSE&G must first deactivate the power source and then a tree service contracted by PSE&G tends to the tree.
- The Westfield Memorial Library is open during the day and may be used as a charging station for your mobile devices. Internet access is available as well.
- Westfield schools will remain closed through Friday, November 2.
- New Jersey American Water is asking its customers to voluntarily conserve water indefinitely as many of the company’s facilities are operating on emergency generators. According to the company, “Voluntary water conservation reduces the demand on the water system while it operates on backup power.” I want to emphasize that the water company has not issued any boil water advisories. The request to conserve water is being made only to lessen demand on the treatment and distribution systems that are operating on back-up power.
- There is a false report being circulated that “Union County is shutting off water.” This is a rumor, it is absolutely not true. (Westfield is serviced by New Jersey American Water and I have been in direct contact with the company to verify that this report is false.)
- Again, I want to thank all of the Westfield residents who prepared for the storm so well, heeded the warnings, and sheltered with their families in their homes. I am certain that your cooperation saved lives. I know I can count on your continued cooperation and patience during this critical time.