Residents in Flood-Prone Areas Frustrated After Latest Storm

By Christie Duffy

Flooding nearly over-topped a car in Millstone. In nearby Manville, scores of vehicles originally headed for auction ended up under water.

One Manville resident says he monitored the Millstone River rising all night long and tried to remove as much as he could from his basement, before it was too late.

“It was chaos. It didn’t seem like anyone knew what this river was going to do. At 3 a.m. I got up, walked down to the river and saw that it was coming up. I woke up my family and we moved everything from the basement that we could have,” said Ken Burlew.

When he got back, his basement was under four feet of water — toys and food floating and destroyed.

Wayne Township remains under a flood warning. Walk down Fayette Avenue and you’ll find the water is about ankle deep. So residents remove their shoes, wear rain boots or even piggy back to trudge up to their houses.

The block backs up to the Pompton River, and Wayne police say they expect it to crest this evening.

Lourdes Lindsey saw the water coming up last night and evacuated.

When asked what it’s like living on a road that floods this way, Lindsey said, “Frustrating. We’re trying to get out, we’re trying to look for other places to live, but my kids don’t want to move because of the school system. We’re trying to find a place that will keep us in the same school system. … It’s very hard to sell your home on this street.”

A police officer who drove past said that one side of the street, which is now all wooded, used to have homes on it. He said there was at least one federal buyout here after Tropical Storm Irene, when the flooding was much worse.

“A lot of these empty lots. There was a house by me that they just finished working on it. They just knocked it down. A lot of these empty lots that you see. But they’ve taken years,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey says President Obama visited with residents here after Irene devastated the neighborhood. Some homeowners built taller foundations, raising their houses above the flood waters. Others simply walked away, abandoning structures they say they couldn’t afford to salvage.