LIVINGSTON, NJ — Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, high winds and heavy rain caused by Tropical Storm Isaias brought down numerous trees, branches and wires throughout the Township of Livingston, causing damage to several homes and leaving a large percentage of the community without power—including the Livingston Police Department (LPD).
In addition to thousands of both JCP&L and PSEG customers in Livingston who experienced outages at the height of the storm, the dispatch center at LPD headquarters (333 S. Livingston Ave.) also experienced electrical issues that affected all radio and phone systems.
Until power was restored at about 3:45 p.m., officers used Walkie Talkies to communicate and assured residents via social media that the backup 9-1-1 would continue to take calls for emergencies. A Livingston police dispatcher was also sent to Roseland police headquarters to handle Livingston calls that were transferred to that location.
“We recognize that our community is experiencing power issues along with other non-life-threatening emergencies,” the LPD wrote on its Facebook page. “We are doing our best to make proper notifications to our utility companies, and we will continue to provide this community with the service it deserves. We hope to rectify the problems expeditiously and return to full service as soon as possible.”
As the power outage continued at police headquarters, the LPD worked closely with the Livingston Department of Public Works (DPW) for tree and debris removal around town.
According to Livingston police, several roads were blocked by fallen trees on Tuesday afternoon, including an area of Route 10 near Hillside Avenue where a large tree could be seen laying across the roadway.
In the aftermath of the storm, which began with a light rainfall on Monday night and accelerated throughout the early afternoon on Tuesday, many Livingston residents praised DPW members for their response time and diligence in removing downed trees.
Resident Jim Moresco, whose photo can be seen above, said that when a neighbor's tree fell on his front lawn, the DPW was there within a half hour to remove it. He thanked the DPW for a job well done, adding that “the guys were great and super quick.”
Another resident, George Wade, also shared photos of the state of his driveway before and after DPW cleaned up the debris.
“I’ve seen what our DPW can do during the worst of storms—during Hurricane Sandy, during that freak November snowstorm a few years ago—so it never surprises me,” said Mayor Rudy Fernandez. “I was going to a meeting at town hall this afternoon and happened to see a tree that had just come down as I was driving. By the time I got to town hall, the DPW was already there getting it out of the road so cars could pass by.
"When we’re supposed to be staying inside and staying safe, these employees are always out there in difficult conditions with only one thing in mind, and that’s helping the residents and helping the town make sure that people can get around safely.”
As the rain subsided and the sun reappeared, Livingston Police Chief Gary Marshuetz also released a public statement about the dangers of downed wires, cautioning residents to assume all downed wires are energized and to avoid them.
“The Livingston Police Department is working closely with our electric utilities to repair wires and restore service to all affected areas as quickly and safely as possible,” he said.
As of Tuesday night, PSEG reported more than 2,000 outages throughout Livingston with plans to have most service restored by Wednesday. At the same time, JCP&L reported just under 1,900 Livingston customers covered by seven damages circuits without power.
According to township officials, JCP&L was still responding to major outages throughout the state on Tuesday night and focusing on the largest outages first. The service provider reported that certain restorations may be multi-day.
As of publication time, there have been no injuries reported as a result of fallen trees that struck residences on Bonnyview Drive, E. Sherbrooke Pkwy, S. Livingston Ave, Tulane Rd., Lincoln Ave., Broadlawn Drive and Swan Road, according to the Breaking News Network (BNN). BNN also indicated live wires down at 248 E. Northfield Rd., 84 W McClellan Ave. and the intersection of Amelia Ave and S. Livingston Ave.
(It should be noted that BNN reports only on emergency radio activity, and other downed wires and trees in town may not have been reported as part of this list.)
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