NJ firefighters abandoned flood victims and told them to cling to trees, report says
ELIZABETH — Some city residents said during the intense flooding from Ida, first responders passed them by in a boat, according to one report.
NJ.com reported that 23-year-old Karismah Tucker, a mother of two who is also pregnant, was among those living at the Oakwood Plaza apartments on Irvington Avenue near the Elizabeth River — where four residents drowned in the severe flash flooding of Sept. 1.
Tucker told NJ.com that she had yelled for help with her two children and that “They told us to hold on to trees and passed right by us on a boat.”
A city spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Monday from New Jersey 101.5 but NJ.com said the city disputed the woman's story.
Jose Torres, 71, his wife Rosa Espinal, 72, their adult son Jose Torres, 38, and 33-year-old neighbor Shakia Garrett all died after being trapped by fast-rising water in first floor apartments of the complex.
About 400 residents remained displaced from Ida as of Friday, according to Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage on Twitter.
In a tweet thread, Bollwage said that maintaining short-term housing had been a challenge, as hotels had cancelled rooms and placed time limits on stays.
Displaced residents of the same apartment complex told News 12 New Jersey last week that they remained unsure about when they might be able to return home, or if that was even possible.
Union County is among a dozen counties in the state that have been declared as major disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in the more than two weeks since Ida struck.