Power loss forces city to act


Hurricane Sandy originally left about 90 percent of New Brunswick in a blackout last week, but only 10 percent remain without power as of yesterday, according to Russell Marchetta, city spokesman.

Police officers and firefighters worked 12-hour shifts throughout the week and invoked a mandatory evacuation for those living in the city’s high-risk flood zones starting Sunday near the Raritan River.

The Lord Stirling Elementary School on George Street was opened as a shelter for those the evacuation displaced, Marchetta said. While the shelter housed about 180 people after the storm last week, the number has come down to about 60.

“The shelter is still open for people who don’t have power in their homes,” Marchetta said.

City officials have been working hard to get everything back to normal following the widespread blackout, he said.

“There are only pockets in the city that don’t have power right now,” he said. “We are telling PSE&G the exact locations, so they can target them more easily.”

New Brunswick residents also received a Boil Water Advisory starting Tuesday with instructions to boil tap water before drinking it, but Marchetta said it was only a precautionary measure and was lifted by Wednesday morning.

“There was an advisory because the pumps that pump water into the city lost power,” Marchetta said. “We never got to the point where it was a danger — it was only a precaution.”

Although police units were placed on alert during the hurricane, Marchetta said there were no storm-related crimes such as looting or rioting in the city.


By Giancarlo Chaux

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