HELMETTA — Recovery efforts continue for the residents of 73 houses damaged by flood water from Tropical Storm Henri.

The storm dumped about 8 inches of rain across several Central Jersey communities Saturday night and Sunday, including in Jamesburg, Cranbury and Helmetta, where Mayor Chris Slavicek has been helping residents get back on their feet.

"I think it seems like a decade but it's really only been since Sunday," Slavicek told New Jersey 101.5. "Recovery is in full effect."

The hard work of recovery

Gov. Phil Murphy visits a flood damaged home in Helmetta
Gov. Phil Murphy visits a flood damaged home in Helmetta (Gov. Phil Murphy)

The community center has become a place where residents can get water, rest and learn information on resources available to assist with repairs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available for those who are unable to return to their home.

"We have support from the Red Cross Disaster Relief. Wednesday we're having a resource center at our community center for our residents to speak with the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities is here, Red Cross is here. We're very fortunate and blessed to have volunteers," said Slavicek, who also credited his own staff, the Office of Emergency Management and the mayor of neighboring Spotswood for their help.

"It's my responsibility along with my team to guide the residents  to the proper resources and be supportive of them. Not only is it taxing and tiring and financially a burden but emotional too. People need to get back to live, routines, back to work," Slavicek said.

Not the first flood

Red Cross Multi-Agency Resource Center at the Helmetta Community Center
Red Cross Multi-Agency Resource Center at the Helmetta Community Center (Red Cross NJ)

For some residents of the affected neighborhood whose homes and cars were damaged, it's the fourth time they've been flooded but this time is the worst, according to Slavicek.

"I look at it as every single household, every single resident is affected in a different way.  Some people have 3 or 4 feet of water in their homes. Other residents, it affected their basements. Some residents are on a higher grade of land so they weren't nearly as affected,"

Slavicek said Helmetta's motto is "small town big heart" and said the epitome of that has been shown since Sunday.

As of 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday these roads are still closed:

  • Franklin (Somerset) — Blackwells Mills Road between Canal Road and Millstone River Road
  • Franklin (Somerset) — Canal Road between Elm Street and Blackwells Mills Road
  • Franklin (Somerset) — Bellemead-Griggstown Road between River Road and Canal Road
    Monroe Township — Spotswood-Englishtown Road at Mounts Mill Road
    Parsippany — New Road between Old Bloomfield Avenue and Route 280

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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