CBS2’s Meg Baker met with some of them who are demanding access to their possessions.
“I’ve been crying all day. I can’t help it. I’m sorry. I’m so upset,” Scotch Plains resident Mary Jean Murphy said Tuesday.
Murphy was allowed to quickly look in her unit inside the Public Storage building off Route 22, but then was told she would have to come back another time to retrieve and salvage anything that survived the flood. She said she saw workers bagging and throwing out stuff from other units, much of the stuff covered in mud.
“I’m having a really hard time with this. I’m losing over 35 years of my memories, my children’s videos and pictures, my diseased parents’ goods. I have ashes in there,” Murphy said.
Garry Pastore said he stores his tools there and he can’t work without them.
“They are taking my livelihood. For me to even file a claim with the insurance company, I have to have pictures of the damage,” Pastore said.
He said he has filed a complaint with Consumer Affairs.
Cecelia Ephraim stored the last letter her father wrote to her before he passed away in a waterproof and fireproof box, so she knows it survived.
“It’s about something I can’t replace,” Ephraim said.
Andrew Rodriguez said he was using his unit for short-term storage in between moving.
“Literally our entire house is in there — everything from my wedding photos, legal documents,” Rodriguez said.
Baker told Rodriguez she couldn’t imagine how he and his family are feeling.
“There’s no words, there’s no words,” he responded.
Baker tried to speak to the managers inside and was handed a sheet of paper with contact information for someone in California.
“Have you already gotten rid of most stuff?” she asked.
“We can’t answer your questions,” she was told.
Baker then emailed and called, but got no answer. So, she left a message.
“They need answers. These are memories. These are their belongings and they want to know if they can get in to see the damage, themselves,” Baker said.
“They wouldn’t allow us to come into the unit because of the toxicity in the building. I’m just heartbroken right now,” Newark resident Jacqueline Slappy said.
The people said they just want closure, even if everything is ruined.
As of publication of this story, no one from Public Storage has gotten back to CBS2.
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.