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Christie: Moonachie, Little Ferry flooding rescues caused by berm breach

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

UPDATE (1 p.m.): Hundreds of people were rescued overnight after a berm break flooded Moonachie and parts of Carlstadt and Little Ferry. Hundreds more were waiting, Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro said thir morning. He also said the floodwaters destroyed the police station, fire department, civic center, borough hall and ambulance squad buildings.

The National Guard, the New Jersey State Police, the Bergen County Police Department’s Water Search & Recovery Unit and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office all combined to head the massive rescue effort.

Several local departments also sent reinforcements, including Fair Lawn Rescue, which brought a boat.

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A massive effort to rescue hundreds of people continued through the night in Bergen County, where a levee break flooded Moonachie and parts of Carlstadt and Little Ferry, bringing rescuers from the National Guard, the New Jersey State Police, the Bergen County Police Department’s Water Search & Recovery Unit and all available personnel and equipment from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.

Most of those rescued were taken to the Bergen County Vocational Technical School, Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff for County Executive Kathleen Donovan, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Some were standing on the roofs of their homes in a trailer park, she said.

Also moved were evacuees who were displaced from St. Margaret of Cortona in Little Ferry, which became flooded.

Kathy Kinsella of Moonachie knew there was trouble when she saw the National Guard in front of her house.

“I walked through thigh high water to get to an area where I could be picked up by a friend to get to Bergen Vo Tech,” she told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

However, her parents had to be rescued.

“My brother picked us all up there and brought us to his house,” Kinsella said. “I parked my car by the police station cause I was afraid of trees in front of my house. It might have floated away!”

Gov. Christie said the breach occurred at a berm “overwhelmed by a tidal surge that came up the Raritan Bay and the Newark Bay — the same one that affected New York City.”

It was one of many disaster stories in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area.

“A large number of people in Jersey City are without power, all because substations around the Newark Bay have been flooded,” Christie told CBS This Morning.

The Jersey Shore “in the long run will be the part of the state that was the most devastated,” the governor said. “New Jersey took it in the neck worse than any other state.”

The damage includes NJ Transit’s infrastructure clear across the state — crucially, at Kearny Junction (a critical link for direct service to midtown Manhatan), the Newark and Hudson/Bergen light rails, the rail stations in Hoboken and Secaucus and Newark Penn Station, all due to floodwaters.

The system “has experienced unprecedented devastation … to rails, rail yards, bus depot and critical operation centers”, NJ Transit Board Chairman and NJ DOT Commissioner James Simpson.

All NJ Transit bus, rail, light rail and Access Link service remains suspended until further notice.

“Service will not resume until the state’s public transit system is repaired, safe, and secure,” Simpson said.

Christie, meanwhile, continued to be critical of Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for telling citizens they could ignore the governor’s warning that the storm would hit the shore resort flush.

However, he said he has “great sympathy” for those who he said were misled.

A dozen search-and-rescue teams fanned out at daybreak, said Christie, adding that he hoped to survey the Shore by helicopter once the wind died down.

“New Jersey’s a tough place. It’s going to take us awhile to dig out from under it,” he said, “but we’ll be back.”

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