Image Source: https://www.newarkpostonline.com/
Two motorists were stranded after attempting to drive through flooding caused by a clogged storm drain near the Hudson State Service Center on Thursday afternoon.
The incident happened on an access road that divides the Hudson Center property from Wawa and KFC. A significant amount of used clothing – apparently from a donation box in the Hudson Center parking lot – was clogging the storm drain, and water rose in the roadway as the remnants of Hurricane Zeta dropped 2.2 inches of rain in the Newark area.
Firefighters from Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company were dispatched for a water rescue just after 4 p.m., though Aetna spokesman Jeff Sands said the drivers were able to get out of the cars themselves.
Aetna remained on scene for 20 minutes until the situation was considered under control, though water still covered the roadway. Water also covered part of the parking lot at the Hudson Center, which was hosting an outdoor coronavirus testing event.
With no police there to block traffic, several other motorists attempted to drive though the water before being waved off by bystanders. A police dispatcher said the public works department had been notified, but no crew arrived. A Newark spokeswoman later said the storm drain is privately maintained, not the responsibility of the city.
The situation was eventually resolved by Mike Lindsay, an off-duty firefighter from the West Grove and Oxford fire departments in Pennsylvania, who was in Newark to take his kid shopping for a Halloween costume and stopped to assist.
Lindsay hooked up a tow rope from his vehicle to one of the disabled vehicles and then pushed it the rest of the way out of the water. The driver was able to drive the car away.
Lindsay then got down on his hands and knees and fished out several handfuls of clothing from the storm drain, and the water subsided within minutes.
The second disabled vehicle was hauled away by a tow truck.