Flood waters prevent N.J. firefighters from accessing several structure fires

At least three fires continue to burn in Manville with streets still overrun by water, causing access issues for firefighters and first responders


Rodrigo Torrejon
nj.com

At least three fires continue to burn and smolder Friday morning in the flood-ravaged town of Manville with streets still overrun by water, causing access issues for firefighters and first responders.

Two houses and a banquet hall in Manville were still visibly burning Friday morning as news helicopters circled overhead. Abc7ny.com reported, The Saffron, a banquet hall on South Main Street, burst into flames at around 2 a.m. Residents from as far as neighboring towns claim they heard a loud explosion, the report said.

The fires in Manville started on Thursday afternoon when Raritan River flooding still blocked many of roads in town.
The fires in Manville started on Thursday afternoon when Raritan River flooding still blocked many of roads in town. (Photo/Ed Murray via MCT)

Video showed The Saffron completely surrounded by flood waters.

Jayesh Mehta, the owner of The Saffron, has only seen the flames and flooding in pictures and videos shared by neighbors, he told NJ Advance Media on Friday morning. The feeling of powerlessness as the business he’s owned since June 2018 burns has left Mehta in a state of shock.

“I don’t know what to do and how to deal with something like this,” said Mehta. “I haven’t had any such disasters like that in my life. Until when it was flooded and the water was inside, I was okay. I knew I had to repair it and fix it. Now, I don’t know. Something like this has never happened to me. I don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve had a sleepless night.”

Mehta, who lives in Edison, has been unable to reach his business, blocked by flood waters on all sides, he said. Events were scheduled at the banquet hall Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, he said. As soon as he’s able to, Mehta plans to go to The Saffron to assess the damage, he said.

The fires in Manville started on Thursday afternoon when Raritan River flooding still blocked many of roads in town. The river has started to recede below moderate flood stage on Friday morning, but access issues remain.

A house on North Second Avenue and another on Boesel Avenue continued to burn Friday, ABC7ny.com reported.

Manville was devastated by flooding brought on by the remnants of Hurricane Ida overnight Wednesday.

The Raritan River, which hit 26.85 feet at 6 a.m Wednesday in Manville, more than 12 feet over its flood stage of 14 feet.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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