Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, along with the police, fire and DPW, provided an update to residents at a press conference on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Here are the highlights:
Safety: Police Chief Robert Cimino said: “We don’t want people driving or walking around. Stay in the house.”
Maplewood Police responded to 840 emergency calls in the last 24 hours; 443 of which were 911 calls.
“Officer responded to over 240 locations requiring assistance,” Cimino said. “They worked in very challenging conditions, something I was very proud of.” There were numerous evacuations, and as of last night roughly 50 people were staying in the shelter at DeHart Community Center.
The message: Do not go outside. Stay in your houses. “We are still attempting to maintain safety," said Cimino. "All non-essential travel should cease.”
He said cars are not able to navigate through normal routes, and are driving in such a way as to impede emergency responses.
Power outages: It is unclear how many homes in Maplewood have lost power; DeLuca estimates roughly 2/3. He said he will have more information after a call with PSE&G later this afternoon. PSE&G will not send out restoration crews until the winds are less than 40 miles per hour.
Downed trees and limbs: DPW head Eric Burbank reported that there were “hundreds of trees and limbs down, most of which involve power lines.” He said DPW couldn’t remove any of them until they get clearance from PSE&G. “This will involve weeks of cleanup,” he said. “Bear with us.”
He also asked that residents refrain from raking leaves or putting branches in the street for now, so that DPW can continue clean up efforts
Downed wires: Wires may not look live but they may have power running through them. Do not touch any wires.
Power in business districts: Springfield Avenue has no power, said DeLuca, and no traffic lights. Maplewood Village does have power, and a couple of stores were reported open Tuesday morning: Kings and Maplewood Diner.
What’s open and closed: The main branch of the Maplewood Memorial Library is open today until 6 p.m. Morrow Memorial Church is open and has power; people are welcome to come to recharge devices, use the kitchen or have children play.
Maplewood Town Hall is open until 4:30 p.m. today for people who want to come and charge their cellphones.
Halloween activities in town are postponed until Friday, Nov. 2. DeLuca asked that people refrain from trick-or-treating until then.
Jitney service is expected to be restored on Friday; recycling center is closed until Thursday. Garbage pick up is expected to be restored by Thursday.