Flood Waters Force Residents In Wallington, NJ To Evacuate

WALLINGTON, NJ (CBSNewYork) – The situation is a dire one in Wallington, New Jersey, where residents were ordered to leave the flooded town.  Tidal flooding was occurring along the Passaic River and officials said they were still unsure of how high the water might ultimately rise.

Even with Hurricane Irene long-gone, the flooding she has caused continues to bring misery to residents in the Garden State. Wallington resident Monica Krol said she had a “sense of fear and the feeling of being trapped.”

Earlier Tuesday evening, there was a mandatory call for the town’s residents in low-lying areas to evacuate because of flooding concerns. The waters have endangered about a thousand homes.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan Reports From Wallington

Mayor Walter Wargacki said while he ordered the evacuation, not everyone listened.

“In America, we believe in private property and people if they decide to stay, they stay,” Wargacki told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

The river went over the Eighth Street Bridge and both Locust Avenue and Main Avenue were flooded with several feet of water, 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reported.

Residents in Wallington said they received messages Tuesday morning that evacuations would take place.  Some people struggled to make sense of the flooding and were shocked by the pure scale of the damage.

“My mother’s got a friend who’s in the nursing home…this lady — when she comes out — she’s not going to have a home to come to,” one woman said.

Earlier Hennessey spoke with the owner of an area gas station who said he had never seen flooding this bad in his 25 years in the community.

“We have a big loss — look at the garbage. Look how much stuff we had to throw away already.  We still have a way to go,” he said.


Driving through Paterson in CBS 2’s Mobile 2 Unit, reporter Tony Aiello said that officials were being overwhelmed by calls. Many of them came from residents stranded in homes and apartment buildings surrounded by flood waters.

Currently, the rescue calls are being evaluated and prioritized.

“Right now, if people have medical needs, we’re going for the people who have medical needs, picking them up, bringing them to safe ground,” Paterson City Council member Anthony Davis said.

Entire blocks of Paterson were left in the dark Tuesday night because the flooding has forced PSE&G to turn off the electricity.

“It’s crazy.  It’s crazy,” Alvin Burnett told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. He said the fact that many people in the area had families with children made the situation that much worse.


Friends were out comforting other friends in Wayne. Jennifer Philip and her two daughters lost everything to Irene after their home was filled with about five feet of water.

1010 WINS’ John Montone Reports: More Water, More Damage

“The home we built for our kids is gone. Adults can handle it, but the kids — they don’t have anything,” Philip told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

“I’m not too happy that our house is going to be flooded and I don’t know where we can go next,” one of Philip’s daughters said.

The same heartache was affecting others in a nearby devastated mobile home community, where dozens are under water.

“To lose everything and when you have kids — it’s even worse,” Rosanna Hastings said.


Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses also remain without power in the state. For residents of Little Falls, near the Passaic River, it’s hard to imagine things could get worse.

“I kind of don’t want to look,” said Leon Dupas. “Just all the time and effort, and the memories… they’re just getting washed out.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On Persistent Flooding Along The Passaic

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond In Manville

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb In Union County

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg Reports From Lyndhurst

Lincoln Park resident Eddie Kribs has had enough of the flooding – and of what he sees as ineffective efforts by leaders to address it.

“They’ve had constant meetings to fix this problem and haven’t come up with anything yet,” Kribs said. “Every time, it’s ‘a study.’ That’s the worst around here, everybody knows: ‘Oh, and we’re going to have to do another study.'”

Do you agree: Is it time for another study,  or is more drastic action required? What do you think officials should do about the flooding? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Donna

    How is 37 Main Avenue in Wallington? My extended family lived there for over 100 years. The house flooded in 1900, but it still stood. It’s well built.

    How is the Polish National Catholic Church??

    • Leslie

      Donna – For the first time ever, the PNCC had water in the church hall as well as the rectory basement. Flooding has never been this severe in Wallington. We have been cleaning up all week

  • JMS

    as a former wallington resident I can echo some of the posters in here who say the areas that flooded were many blocks away from the river and it’s almost inconceivable to think this could ever happen. it’s almost like a river’s equivalent to a tsunami. this is 100 year flood for sure.

  • JM

    I cant believe this!! me and my sister just got two i-pads for $42.77 each and a $50 amazon card for $9. the stores want to keep this a secret and they don’t tell you. go here, TagCent.com

  • rick

    I have a question I want to ask to these people in the flood zone areas? Before you made your investment in these areas and it seems a lot of you have only been there a few years, did you not investigate and see that it was a flood zone area near the lake? Isn’t that what you normally do when making a big investment like that? And since this is probably the sixth time you probably have been flooded out what happened when this happened the first time, didn’t you think it was time to try to get out or some other course of action. I’m just curious.

    • Jude

      agreed, but most places just flooded for the very first time ever – scary

    • A Realist

      RIck, I lived in Little Falls until last year. When I bought my house in July 2004, it had flooded only once in 20 years (Hurricane Floyd). And that flood was because of a bad sewer pump. Then all hell broke loose – it flooded 3 times in the 5 years I was there, then once last March and again this week after I was lucky enough to find a buyer for my house. That’s 6 times in 6 years (not to mention the close call in 2005 where we were lucky by a couple of inches). When my wife and I bought the house it was a clean, modest sized house and we paid $355K. We sold it for $255K. We had to clear out our 401Ks just to pay off the mortgage company. There was other recourse. That is what these people are going through. They just can’t win these past 6 years and then they have to endure stupid questions from ignorant people as to why they bought the house in the first place. They did because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Good question though.

      • A Realist

        I meant to say 5 times in 6 years and there was on other recourse.

      • rick

        Ok I’ll accept that, I had to ask because I do not know the area and from I seen on this board and the news reports I was wondering what happened throught the years. It seems the flooding has gotten worse and wanted to know why and why city officials have not addressed the issue since more people are moving in the area. I do feel for everyone out there who is going through this and hope things will work out.

    • pat

      Lived in Wallington for 28 years and there was never any flooding. Think before you write!

    • Amber

      Rick – I’ll give you one good example – look at the flooding across Route 46 in Wayne right now. That DID NOT happen years ago. Go back 20 years and everybody knew if you got a lot of rain (a lot, not just a storm or two) then the bridge on Route 23 into Willowbrook would flood over and some houses right there would flood. The mall didn’t flood, Route 26 didn’t flood. People bought houses further back from the river, no problem, never floods there. Fast forward 20 years – the entire mall is flooded, the parking lot behind Costco always floods, roads you could count on in any weather now underwater.
      Why are we blaming people who, in good faith, bought homes where there had never been water before? A Realist is right – conservative estimate is at least 75% of the people seeing water now have homes that have either never seen water before or maybe saw it once in 30 years (like Floyd). But construction elsewhere has pushed the water into areas it’s never been before and the past 5-6 years have been different; if that’s after people bought their homes and safely lived in them for many, many years what do you want them to do? Maybe all homeowners should be required to hire psychics to predict how the water tables and construction permits for new stores and highways will affect their house up to 50 years in the future.

      • rick

        Hey Amber I want you to realize my question was not to blame anyone I just wanted to know what happened through the years because like you said you didn’t see this happen in years before. I don’t know that area so I had to ask. I feel for everyone in the area and hope you can get city officials to take care of this because I know if I had made that type of investment and now see I cannot get out of it, it would cause me hardship also. I wish everyone the best and hope your prayers are answered.

      • Amber

        “”The mall didn’t flood, Route 26 didn’t flood””

        Meant to say Route 46 didn’t flood.

  • Joe D

    Garth is correct. The next time an insurance company gives you money to rebuild-Do it somewhere else that is safer.

    • A Realist

      Yea Joe, that 25K the insurance company gives for replacing the sheetrock, furnace, doors, hot water heater, AC, etc. will go a long way at building a house somewhere else.

  • alpsman

    Why does the Pompton Lake always have to be full? Lets experiment, run it down to a trickle in the summer, one know it will fill up again. Clean out all the brooks and tributaries. No one has the youknowwhats to take the bull by the horns. I suspect bad management plays a big part in all this flooding. Build a dam , and make a reservoir. If that fails, stop building period.

  • Bill

    It should be made illegal to build or own property in the flood zone, as it is in so many other states. +1 on bulldozing. The only houses along the river in Little Falls should be boat houses.

  • Mike

    Garth, i enjoyed your analogy of Newark Airport to the Rivers, very true!
    And for everyone in these areas, take the simple and logical solution, “Move.”

    And i also agree that the homes should be bulldozed. But not simply just to bulldoze them as a quick fix. I’m keeping in mind that if the current residents move out- the homes would have to sell so cheap that the demographic of these areas will dramatically change, resulting in only God knows what..

    We all can agree that the area’s landscape is gorgeous, that’s why people originally moved to the area…so I suggest making the area a natural reserve- let the rivers clear up, allow wildlife to flourish, and allow visitors to enjoy it. And stop wasting time and money on the inevitable.

    My last suggestion- change the town name of “Little Falls” to “Little Floods”

  • Dennis DiPietro

    Garth, you said it

  • andrea

    I think you are assuming that the feds are willing and looking to buy. Also where would.you propose half of north jersey relocate to?

    • Garth

      The feds have made numerous offers to buy out lots of the houses in Lodi, Wayne etc. The flood distrtict as it is called. But the stubborn residents prefer to keep taking insurance money, rebuilding and we repeat this every time a severe storm comes, as they get interviewed and we watch their couches and tables float by. God does help those that help themselves. And it is not half of North Jersey, just a few critical areas in a few towns. In this economy, there are bargains on higher and dryer ground Andrea….

      • Tommy

        Floodvictim: What did you think was going to happen when you bought a house on a river? I’m sorry, you didn’t think, instead you sit and wait for the government to buy you out and bail you out of YOUR mistake.


        Garth..know your facts before you preach. Flood buy outs were not extended to all in Flood Zones. It went as far as the money would take it and was cut off. Here in Little Falls, it was offered to a few houses who had the highest insurance claims. So us houses on the river or near the river still suffer. Nobody wants to buy the house, all we can do is rebuild. Houses have been for sale for the past 3 years, nobody wants to buy them. KNOW YOUR FACTS.

  • Garth

    Storm after storm we interview the same people who keep losing things, rebuilding, and then the next storm washes everything away again. If you are in a battle with mother nature, you most sure will lose. I think the insurance companies, would gladly see all these residents leave, and just have the homes demolished. There is no point in constantly allowing something to be repaired and rebuilt, when each storm washes everything away or inflects worse damage then before. Folks, I feel very bad for you, but now it is time to pack up and move on. You wouldn’t live with your backyard adjacent to the active runway at Newark Airport, but you will live within feet or walking distance of a river, that constantly floods. The feds and state are only going to do so much, not waterproof the town for you. Lick your wounds, swallow your pride, and get out. Sell the place to the feds, and let them bulldoze the ones in the worst areas. You are only delaying the inevitable anyway…..

    • A Realist

      Garth, you are a farging idiot. You have no idea what the people in these areas are going through. Stop trying to sound smart when you don’t know a damned thing about the true nature of what these people are going through. It is next to impossible to sell a house in recent years with all of these floods. As flood victim said above, there were only a few buy outs extended to home owners, and there was no rhyme or reason to who were bought out. Why don’t you give up years of investment and walk away from your home? You make me sick. I can go on for hours but I know it’s wasted time on people like you.

      • Jack

        How about bizillionaires who buy mansions on the beach? Same class of people?

      • A Realist

        Well Tommy, some people bought their house in a flood zone because the price was right, it hadn’t flooded in many years. Overbuilding has exasperated flooding issues for these people. These people are taxpayers too, but they bought into a bad situation and now it’s almost impossible to get out of it. I live in earthquake country? Should I just leave my house behind after the next earthquake? Should people in Tornado Alley just walk away from their house? Should people along the gulf coast just give up their investments and walk away? Easier said that done pal. Don’t knock these people when they’re down. Have some sympathy for people who are hard working tax payers like you and are having hard times.

      • Tommy

        A realist would not buy a house on a river in the first place. As a taxpayer, I am not interested in owning floodzone property, so I guess you better warm up the snorkel and mask, its going to be a long, wet life.

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