MILLINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey family says everything they own is being held hostage in the back of a moving truck in an impound lot, and they are fighting to get their belongings back.
CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez spoke exclusively with the family living the moving nightmare.
Tina Fortino and her family moved into a home in Millington, New Jersey one month ago. But most of their furniture and valuables are believed to be locked up in a tow yard in Carteret, including priceless family mementos and Fortino’s children’s favorite belongings.
“There’s my 6-year-old little boy just like crumbled. I mean, his is body just went limp and he just started sobbing,” Fortino said tearfully, “And I’m holding him and hugging him and, you know, mommy can’t kiss him and make it better like when he falls down. I just – I couldn’t fix it.”
Fortino’s parents hired Assurance Vanlines out of Manhattan to arrange the move. The company in turn brought in Five Star Vanlines in Union City, New Jersey.
The movers picked up the family’s belongings, but never made it to the Millington home.
Five days after the expected arrival, police had news.
“Good news is we found the truck,” Fortino said she was told. “Bad news is it was in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, and the truck flipped over — contents all over the road; took four hours to clean up.”
The damaged moving truck was towed to the yard at B&L Recovery and Towing in Carteret. But Fortino said the towing company will not let her remove her property from the truck.
“The towing company says: ‘Sure, you can get your stuff for 10 grand. Bring the money,’” Fortino said. “I don’t understand how this is all our fault, and why we should have to pay him to get our personal belongings.”
CBS2 reached out to B&L, and the company owner said he never asked the Fortinos to pay. He said he is waiting for the moving company to file an insurance before releasing the property.
Fortino said she has had to buy some appliances and furniture to make her home livable. The stress has caused weight loss.
Fortino is hoping the towing company will sympathize and give her family their belongings – if their property is even there and salvageable.
“This is a family of seven, with a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old little girl,” Fortino said. “How does it feel to just take their world away?”
Thankfully, the Fortinos were able to move some of their boxes before the professionals moved in.
CBS2’s Sanchez spoke to the owner of B&L Towing Monday evening, and he said he was willing to work with the family to get them their belongings.