There is no gas in Morristown.
That, according to a Morristown Police Officer directing traffic at the corner of Ridgedale Avenue and Morris Street around noon Wednesday, amid a sea of cars, honking horns and more than a few unhappy folks.
And, if you have heard a rumor from someone's brother's uncle's aunt's next door neighbor that there may be gas in Morristown, the police department issued a note via Nixle.com hammering home the point:
"Avoid Morristown. Gas stations are out of fuel, please make other arrangements."
"Everyone's panicking because all their gas tanks are on 'E,'" one officer said as he restricted access to Abbett Avenue in one direction because he said the mad rush to Dean's Tire Service gas station there had gotten out of hand.
But, don't get your hopes up. As the officer spoke with Patch, he received a call from headquarters saying he could leave.
"There's no gas there now, either," he said.
Further up Ridgedale Avenue, at the Sunoco station, power was up. Its convenience store was open but, "we don't have any gas," an attendant said.
Despite their powered sign reading all zeroes, that wasn't stopping a steady stream of desperate drivers from pulling into the station, only to be turned away.
Another Sunoco employee there said they had expected a gasoline shipment to come in on Tuesday, but by lunchtime Wednesday, "no gas, but, the store's still open."
Tyler Cornforth, an employee at nearby STS, wasn't sure when he was going to be able to leave the gas station and head back home to Washington Township, in Warren County. "My truck's gas gauge doesn't work," he said.
But, Cornforth was in pleasant spirits. Sipping a Red Bull energy drink from the still-open convenience store, he said, "I've got a pack of cigarettes in my pocket and a pack of cigarettes in my car. I've got everything I need, except for gas."
The chaos wasn't much better once actually in Morristown proper.
"A cop at Town Hall told me if I don't have any gas by now, forget about it," said Kendra Arnold, co-founder of Bike and Walk Morristown. "I said, 'that's OK, I ride a bike.'"
Still, even this cyclist could see this was not a usual Wednesday in Morristown.
"This is crazy," she said. "It's like everybody from every other town around here came here because they don't have power."
The Midtown Shopping Center parking lot was packed, as were all its open businesses.
Lee Goldberg, of Morris Township, jammed into a capacity crowd at Panera Bread, where he saw a friend from even further out of town.
"I saw my friend from Montville and asked him what he was doing down here," he said. "He told me there's nothing up there."
Pam Patterson, of James Street in Morristown, said she drove all over the area with her kids—including Route 10, which is nearly entirely shut down—before settling on Burger King.
"It's been a bit crazy," she said. "We drove all around in big circles."
While other businesses in the shopping center were quickly becoming standing room only, there were still a few empty seats at BK at about 1 p.m.
But, maybe not for long.
A complete coincidence, Burger King's Morristown location just got free wifi on Sunday. Several people already were taking advantage of it, over Whoppers and fries.
"Not everybody knows they have wifi here now, that's why there are seats," Patterson said.
Store Manager Peter Rizzo said the store is fully stocked (except for creamers). The burgers are hot, and the wifi is on.
"Come on down," he said between taking orders.