Two water rescues were successfully performed by Kearny Fire Department crews this past weekend during the torrential rainfall the region experienced.
The first occurred, fire officials said, at 4:10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, at Belgrove Drive and Passaic Ave. where a vehicle was found stuck in three feet of water with two occupants – a mother and her son – trapped inside with the water rising.
Nine firefighters responded in a John boat and extricated the pair, managing to get them into the boat and, ultimately, to safety, fire officials said.
Fire Chief Steven Dyl said, “water was coming into the car” as the firefighters made their way to the vehicle and, upon opening the vehicle’s door, the woman and her son were able to climb into the boat.
Asked why no barricades had been set up to warn motorists not to use the low-lying Passaic Ave., Dyl said that because of the hard-hitting rainstorm, “our resources were stretched thin” and first-responders were doing their best to keep track of emergency situations as they arose.
According to reports that aired on two New York TV stations, the woman – whose husband is an out-of-town firefighter – had returned with her son from an out-of-town school open house, exited Rt. 280 and was winding through East Newark down to Passaic Ave. when her car was engulfed by water from the swollen riverbank.
In the second incident, fire crews made their way to Turvan Road off the Belleville Turnpike, at 10:37 p.m. Sunday, to access a man and a woman stranded in a stalled vehicle surrounded by about two feet of water.
An estimated 17 firefighters maneuvered a John boat and a roof ladder to reach the couple, get them into the vessel and steer them to high ground and safety, officials said.
Additionally, at 12:12 a.m. that same day, the KFD was alerted via North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue to a report of a person in the Passaic River near the Pike. Dyl said water-borne firefighters from Kearny, Newark and Bayonne – part of a fireboat task force – navigated the river for about an hour before giving up the search.
Dyl said the report was apparently unfounded. – Ron Leir