If the calendar didn’t say so, one wouldn’t think Wednesday was actually Halloween. Often a festive, fun-filled occasion in Washington Township.
Unfortunately, residents are experiencing anything but treats.
Schools are closed through the end of the week, some 6,400 residences in the township are without power according to the mayor, and many roads are still impassable to motorists, all because of Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path through the area Monday.
The township is currently using Fairmount Firehouse and Schooley’s Mountain Firehouse as warming centers where residents can go to heat up and charge electronic devices, according to the Office of Emergency Management.
“As long as residents make use of the centers,” said Washington Township Mayor Ken Short, “we’ll keep them open.”
The Schooley’s Mountain Firehouse will also serve as an overnight shelter Wednesday for residents to go, Short said. Cots will be available, but residents will need to bring their own pillows, blankets and snack foods. There will be no cooking areas available.
Residents are also able to receive potable water by bringing their own containers to Schooley’s Mountain Firehouse, the Washington Township Police Department, Washington Township Municipal Utilities Authority, and Fairmount Fire Company.
The damage from Hurricane Sandy is widespread, and a timetable on restoration of electricity is still a moving target.
“(Jersey Central Power & Light) is in the area, and I know they are working,” Short said. “They’re still saying seven to 10 days for power to come back, but I’ve heard up to two weeks as well.”
Department of Public Works personnel and volunteer firefighters have been working around the clock to move trees from roadways. However, if a tree is lying on a power line or utility pole, the township is required to wait for JCP&L crews to handle the situation.
Washington Township has also activated a local, non-emergency hotline for residents to call to report downed trees on their road and the need for basement pumping by local fire departments rather than calling the county's dispatch.
That number is 908-876-4633. If the line is busy, continue to call until you get through to someone, emergency management officials said.