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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.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

B@B November 01, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Where are the so-called public servants of Washington Township? I have seen NO police directing traffic at the Redwood Road/Pascack Road intersection...NO statements from the mayor and council. It has taken three days for them to open a warming center. What the heck are we paying them for? They are completely AWOL. Meanwhile, the community minded good people at the Dog House Saloon have opened their doors all the way through this crisis. That is REAL community leadership.
Disgusted Resident November 01, 2012 at 02:10 PM
When are the residents of Washington Twp going to realize that when you have the same officials in office year after year, they have no incentive to do the right thing by their residnets because no one challenges them to do so. Here we are at another election and once again they run unopposed.
B@B November 01, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Disgusted: What do we have to do to get together all the people in town who have had enough of this bunch and run a slate of truly independent candidates, unbeholden to any particular party (or to Bob Schroeder) that can raise funds, pound the pavement and get to know our neighbors, and actually get elected? The CVS and Sky Trading projects have galvanized a number of people. Can we do something with this energy?
Disgusted Resident November 01, 2012 at 04:22 PM
B@B -- that's a very good question and Great idea!!! The first step would be to find people to run, but as history shows anyone who opposed the incumbents was dragged through the mud. Whatever happened to the Democratic Party of the town. Where are they????
B@B November 01, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Disgusted: As you know, there was a Democratic candidate in the last mayoral election. The problem is that he was part of the state Dem hackocracy. What we need is independent candidates, beholden to no party, to run. It won't be easy and will require a lot of time and "sweat equity" to go through town, talk to people and have them get to know our candidates. I wonder how we can assemble such a group?
Falcon Fan November 01, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Birkner seems to be doing a pretty good job in Westwood and he is the only Democrat around. Maybe we can get him to move here.
B@B November 01, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Falcon Fan: Maybe we can consolidate WT into Westwood. There is no reason for WT to exist on its own, especially with its incompetent government.
Kat November 01, 2012 at 06:10 PM
No way - Birkner's ours and we're not giving him up without a fight!
Jeffrey Tammen November 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Would love to run and bring wash twp back to it previous glory.have been in the twp for 46 yrs.
Jeffrey Tammen November 04, 2012 at 12:44 PM
This is because they have no idea and plan on how to organize.in order to have a shelter or warming station the bldg first needs power and then needs back up generator.all schools have none , fire house has one,police is on the fritz ,town hall I'm not sure.this town drags its feet on everything thank god we just had wind and no flooding.thanks to the dog house.they should some how hook up with nixel and Oem will send updates to all residents to there phones thru texting gives u everything or what they entered .

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