ELIZABETH — After going through a near-death experience inside the bakery he owns with his wife, a man from Somerset County captured some of the closest and clearest user-submitted footage (video below) of the floodwaters that took over much of the central and northern segments of the state Wednesday night, and the damage they left in their wake.
"The water started coming in from everywhere. They tried to leave through the kitchen side entrance with three or four other employees ... but they couldn't open the door. They couldn't push it because of the pressure of the water," Lorena Bochenek told New Jersey 101.5.
Lorena's parents, owners of Las Americas Bakery on Elmora Ave. in Elizabeth, are safe and sound, and are in the process of clearing out their bakery so it can eventually reopen.
But for close to 10 minutes, they weren't sure if they'd survive the effects of the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
"They were all trying to hold hands, too, because the water had risen below their chins. It covered their necks," Bochenek said. "They were getting to the point that if nobody opened the door, the water was just going to keep rising and they had nowhere to go."
According to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow, 8 to 10 inches of rain fell in Elizabeth over the matter of hours. A little over a mile away from the bakery, four people were found dead at an apartment complex Thursday morning. The first floor of the building was flooded by the torrential rain.
According to Bochenek, who did not want to share her parents' names, her parents and their employees were saved by people outside who happened to hear their screams. Her parents wrapped their phones with bags and tape in order to protect them, and her father recorded the video below after being saved.
Bochenek said her parents and others were taken to a house at higher elevation, where they were cared for. A raft brought her parents to their car, which suffered no damage.
While speaking with New Jersey 101.5, Bochenek, of Warren, was helping her family clean up the bakery that was overwhelmed with at least 4 ½ feet of water.
"They lost pretty much everything that the business had," Bochenek said.
Scenes of devastation and loss in New Jersey
9 amazing facts about lightning you probably didn’t know
25 True Crime Locations: What Do They Look Like Today?
Below, find out where 25 of the most infamous crimes in history took place — and what the locations are used for today. (If they've been left standing.)