SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of people have been denied access to their storage units in Union County after the building was flooded by Hurricane Ida, but Wednesday, one family was finally able to go through their belongings at Public Storage.
A remediation team suited up in hazmat gear outside the Public Storage building on Route 22 in Scotch Plains. Finally, Mary Jean Murphy could see her belongings, hoping her 35 years of memories survived.READ MORE: What Should You Know Before Putting Your Belongings In A Storage Facility?
The building flooded almost two months ago, and people have been locked out since, allowing mold and mildew to grow.
“I’m anxious. I’m just getting– I’m nervous. I have a nervous stomach. I just can’t wait to get in,” Murphy told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Lawyer Jacob Davidson now represents more than 20 people in this fight against the Public Storage corporation. He succeeded in stopping the company from continuing to throw out everyone’s things and negotiated an agreement to allow folks to hire remediation companies to go in and retrieve their items.
“We’re hoping to have that same framework for all of these other unit owners,” Davidson said. “It’s going to be a logistical task.”READ MORE: New Jersey Storage Company Served Injunction Stopping Them From Tossing Customer’s Storm-Damaged Belongings Without Her OK
The remediation expert is also inspecting 18 other units.
“I’m praying for everybody that has stuff here in the storage unit as well because all of us suffered greatly,” Newark resident Jacqueline Slappy said.
Cecelia Ephraim just got word that her stuff has not been disposed of. The last letter her father ever wrote her was kept in her storage unit in a fire- and waterproof box.
“I am so happy that my stuff is still here,” she said. “If I cannot salvage anything else, at least I can have this little part of him that I have left of him.”
The Murphy family says they can’t believe it took this much of a fight to get in and see what is theirs and only theirs — family photos, wedding dresses, urns and more.MORE NEWS: New Jersey Residents Upset They Have Not Been Able To Access Public Storage Unit In Scotch Plains Since Ida Struck Area
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.