MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Flooding from the remnants of Ida devastated the downtown part of Millburn in Essex County.

Millburn Fire Chief Rob Echavarria said they made about 100 rescues of stranded motorists and people stuck in businesses downtown.

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All of those people were evacuated and taken to the Millburn Library, where they stayed overnight.

“We didn’t go at it alone. We have the police department, EMS, Public Works, we all came together,” Echavarria said.

WATCH: CBS2’s Kristine Johnson Speaks To Millburn Fire Chief Rob Echavarria —

Thursday, the recovery phase began.

Crews tried to remove a vehicle lodged underneath a bridge from part of the Passaic River, and the fire department helped pump water out of businesses.

For some, it’s not their first time dealing with flooding, but that didn’t make it any easier.

“This is my third flood, so this is more devastating than the others, and you will never get used to it,” restaurant owner Mario DeMarco told CBS2’s Kristine Johnson.

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His restaurant, Basilico, was covered with mud and pieces of furniture were knocked over.

DeMarco says he’s not sure if he’s going to rebuild.

“You know, one time, two times. Third time, it’s… it’s heavy, you know. And especially after all the COVID,” he said.


“It crushes me. Our businesses, our people, this is hard to see. It’s very difficult for us to see,” Maggee Miggins, with the Millburn Township Committee said. “We’ve gone through to every store that’s been open to see how we can help.”

Millburn Deputy Mayor Richard Wasserman says there is an ongoing plan to address infrastructure issues.

“We’ve been working with our local infrastructure. We’ve been trying to … work on our water levels, and we’ve had this before. It’s been an ongoing effort. But when so much water comes so quickly … I’m not sure that there’s an answer to it. You know, if 10 inches comes quickly, this happens,” Wasserman said.

Despite all the damage, residents and town officials are thankful there was no loss of life.

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Gov. Phil Murphy will visit the town Friday. It will his first stop as he visits areas hard hit by Ida.

Kristine Johnson