Firefighters with the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department conduct water rescue operations in the wake
Firefighters with the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department conduct water rescue operations in the wake of Hurricane Ida. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

When Hurricane Ida hit the northeast late last month, it left millions of dollars of damage and destruction in its wake.

Ida, the second-deadliest storm to hit New Jersey, dumped approximately six to ten inches of rain over a period of about 18 hours. Twenty-five lives were lost throughout the Garden State as a direct result of the hurricane, nearly a decade after 37 New Jerseyians were killed during 2012’s superstorm “Sandy.”

As part of Picatinny Arsenal’s continued efforts to support mutual aid requests, the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department (PAFD) was quick to respond to calls for assistance from surrounding communities.

On the night of Sept. 1, the PAFD assisted Dover’s fire department, and responded to multiple locations for high water rescue, fire alarm activations, and gas leaks. Nine members of the PAFD continued to work throughout the night as flood waters continued to rise more than two-feet and vehicles floated away, trapping them on one of the township’s bridges. The two departments rescued 14 victims that night during the height of the storm.

The next day, the PAFD conducted water rescue operations in Manville. Destructive conditions upon arrival were extensive, with significant devastating flooding in residential areas.

In total, the PAFD rescued or evacuated around 29 occupants from their homes (21 adults and 8 children). They also evacuated numerous dogs and their owners.

During the rescue/evacuation, one adult experienced shortness of breath. PAFD personnel administered basic life support measures until an ambulance arrived to take the patient to the hospital.

“I am extremely proud of all the firefighters at Picatinny Arsenal and the hard work they do every day to prepare for these types of situations,” said Christopher Foster, PAFD Fire Chief.

“The firefighters that responded to the remnants of Hurricane Ira showed they are dedicated responders who want to provide the best service to the community. This situation was a significant event for many people throughout New Jersey. Our firefighters meet the challenge by working feverishly to assist those in need.

“The excellent collaboration between Picatinny Fire Department and our mutual aid partners was evident.Foster continued.   “I are very proud of our department’s ability to unite with Dover Fire, Somerset County Mutual Aid Coordinator (MAC), Morris County MAC, High Bridge Fire Department and Manville Police Department to provide relief to those citizens in need of help.”

During rescue operations, PAFD personnel reported no injuries nor damage to equipment.