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During Tuesday’s Tropical Storm Isaias in Montclair, a large tree on Trinity Place across from the Salvation Army fell down on a US Postal Service Truck. Here are sanitation workers getting ready to remove the entire tree from the street. COURTESY WILMA HURWITZ

by Andrew Garda
garda@montclairlocal.news

In just hours, Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through Montclair on Tuesday, Aug. 4, with wind gusts reaching 50 mile per hour, blowing down trees, and ripping down siding, gates and the Centercourt Montclair “sports bubble.” 

About 22 percent of the town is without power. Today, crews are still clearing the 50 or so felled trees that blocked roadways and brought down power lines, and PSEG is working round the clock, to restore power to 4,278 customers in Montclair, according to their website.

The utility is hoping to have 85 percent of customers affected by the storm throughout New Jersey and in Montclair back up by Friday, said Rebecca Mazzarella, PSE&G Corporate Communications.

Montclair Communications Director Katya Wowk said 120 wires were down after the storm.

So that residents and landscapers can begin cleanups, officials announced this morning that the use of leaf blowers is now allowed until Sept. 3.

Crews will begin picking up debris and limbs in the upcoming days through Aug. 19,

“Due to the significant quantity of debris which is anticipated, an accurate collection schedule after this date cannot be determined however it is expected that complete removal of debris may take several weeks,” according to a memo sent out this morning. 

The Centercourt Montclair “sports bubble” took damage during Tuesday’s storm, collapsing.
ANDREW GARDA//STAFF

GENERATORS

With many Montclairians resorting to the use of generators in the hot August heat, township officials warned residents of the safety measures to be taken when using one.

Portable generators should always be kept outdoors, in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows and vents. The device should be placed in a dry area to avoid potential shock or electrocution. Residents should make sure they have working carbon monoxide alarms in their homes and to use heavy-duty extension cords when connecting appliances. Residents should fuel a generator only when it is off, and to take care when filling as spilling gas on a hot engine can cause flames.

The public pool at Nishuane Park has been closed due to a large tree which fell into it, also breaking the chainlink fence surrounding it.
ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

TREE CLOSES POOL

Those wanting to escape the heat will only have use of Mountainside Pool. Nishuane Pool has been shut down at least for the day, as a tree fell through the chain link fence and into the main pool during the storm. Township officials did not provide an estimated time of repair, but did let residents know that the facility at Mountainside — which had been closed part of last week due to mechanical issues —is open from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Wowk said the pool cannot be fully inspected until the tree is removed.

CHARGING STATIONS

With so many residents without power, many of those fortunate to have power have opened their power cords to their neighbors. For those who do not have a friend with a willing charging port, both the Montclair Public Library and the Montclair Art Museum have set up space for people to charge their phones and other devices.

For the library, Wi-Fi and device charging are both available. Residents can access the WiFi by sitting on one of the benches outside the caution tape on the Plaza or at a table outside the cafe area. They may also sit on the grass. There is a charging station for devices.

For MAM WiFi and charging outlets are available under the tent in front of the side entrance between the hours of 9 AM–4 PM. The WiFi password is montclairartmuseum.

In both cases, masks and physical distancing are required per CDC guidelines. Neither restrooms nor drinking fountains are available.

SPECIAL DEBRIS COLLECTION

The town requests that tree debris be placed by the curb no later than Wednesday, Aug. 19. Debris allowed is defined as follows:

  • Branches – Branches of any tree, bush or shrub parts less than one inch in diameter will be collected if cut in manageable lengths of 3 to 10 feet and stacked neatly to facilitate disposal. Branches may also be set out in biodegradable paper bags. 
  • Wood Chips/chunks, tree bark, acorns, nuts, tree droppings must be placed at the curb in biodegradable paper bags or rigid containers not weighing more than 50 pounds each.
  • Logs – Residents must make their own arrangements for disposal of logs larger than six inches in diameter.  Logs up to six inches in diameter will be collected during this special storm cleanup only. 
  • To facilitate collection please keep log piles separate from branch piles. Different crews and equipment will be collecting the different debris.

Tree stumps will not be collected and arrangements for their removal must be made by residents.

Tree branches damaged part of a fence and the gutters on Deborah Broide’s house during Tropical Storm Isaias.
COURTESY DEBORAH BROIDE

According to Katya Wowk, Montclair Township Communications Director, approximately 50 public and private trees fell into township roadways, not including trees that fell in parks and on private property. 

Town officials do not have any information about damage done to parks or buildings beyond the damage to Nishuane’s pool. 

The following streets were closed as of 11:30 a.m.:

  • Valley Road between Glenwood Road and Norman Road (Tree/wires blocking entire road);
  • Valley Road between Brookfield Road and Gordonhurst Avenue (Large limb on wires over roadway);
  • Grove Street between Alexander Avenue and Overlook Road (Large tree blocking roadway); 
  • Park Street between Alexander Avenue and Mt. Hebron Road (Tree/wires blocking road);
  • Yale Terr between Essex Avenue and N. Fullerton Avenue (Wires in road);
  • Harrison Ave between Porter Place and Union Street (Tree/wires/utility pole down across roadway);
  • Cross St between Harrison Avenue and Orange Road (Tree/wires- roadway impassable);
  • Wayside Pl between Stonebridge Road and Eagle Rock Way (Large tree blocking entire roadway); and
  • Willowdale Ave between Monroe Place and Woodland Avenue (Wires in roadway).