Gas Lines Growing, Warming Centers Open
Thousands of Westwood, Washington Township and Hillsdale residents were still without power Wednesday night after Hurricane Sandy passed through the area.
Updated at 12:33 p.m. Thursday.
Pascack Valley residents, many still without power, flocked to local businesses in search of electricity, gas and other supplies after Hurricane Sandy Wednesday and Thursday.
Westwood had between 5,001 and 10,000 customers without power as of noon Thursday, according to PSE&G. Washington Township and Hillsdale each had between 2,001 and 5,000 customers without power.
As residents ran low on gas for their cars and generators, they lined up for blocks to buy gas at any station that had both power and fuel. Sandy DeMilt said dozens of cars were waiting at the Shell in Hillsdale within five minutes of emplyees arriving.
Employees at the Gulf in Hillsdale reported that two customers had a shouting match when one tried to cut in line. Shortly before 11 a.m., Jennifer Garlan said she had been waiting in line since 8:15. The line stretched all the way down to Timmy's Service Center in Westwood.
In Westwood, Vinny Losaco said he saw a tanker arrive at Express and immediately got in line, which went up Madison Avenue and turned onto Washington Avenue. Police had to cut the line at the train tracks.
Westwood Mayor John Birkner warned residents to be careful as there is a fuel shortage.
"It's something that we have to be very careful with," Birkner said. "We have to conserve as much as possible."
Local coffee shops were packed with customers Wednesday. At the Westwood Starbucks, customers were sitting on almost every available surface and charging their laptops and phones in every socket. David's Bagels in Washington Township briefly ran out of bagels Wednesday morning.
Westwood officials opened the Municipal Complex and the library Wednesday, inviting residents to come in to charge their electronics. Westwood resident Ed Murtagh, who had lost power Monday afternoon, stopped by the Municipal Complex to charge his cell phone.
"I think we're going to be out a long time," Murtagh said. "We need to stock up more than we did."
Westwood Mayor John Birkner told Patch that the borough was also working with the clergy council to open a warming center and soup kitchen at the St. Andrew's Church Parish Center starting Thursday. Residents will be able to have some hot soup, coffee and tea while sitting in a warm place and charging their electronics, Birkner said. The warming center will remain open from 1 to 5 p.m. each day as long as their are still a large number of power outages.
Washington Township officials also announced that the Jack Woods Senior Center, located in the Municipal Complex, would be open to residents between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. for residents to warm up and recharge devices.
The Bergen County YJCC, also in Washington Township, also announced they would open their doors to the entire community from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The YJCC also has showers for residents to use.
Local schools remained closed for the fourth day in a row Thursday because of the power outages, and Halloween was canceled because of hazardous conditions on local streets and sidewalks. Officials have made some plans for makeup events.