Jul 30, 2014

Essex County to President Obama: We Need Fuel

Essex County executive and Gov. Chris Christie have conference call with President Barack Obama post-Sandy.

Essex County to President Obama: We Need Fuel Essex County to President Obama: We Need Fuel

According to one elected official, one positive development in the aftermath of post-Sandy is the partnership between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

On Thursday, two days since Hurricane Sandy tore through the Northeast devastating parts of New Jersey, the two leaders had a conference call. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., said he was part of the call and said the federal government has been receptive to the state's needs.

"I was thanking the president and the governor for their leadership," said DiVincenzo, whose county largely remains without power. "The governor's staff has been extraordinary. It's been a great partnership."

DiVincenzo said besides pledging help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose representatives have already arrived in New Jersey, the county executive said the president was receptive to the county's other need: more gasoline.

"We need fuel here," he said he told the leaders. "There are a lot of people on generators, including hospitals and emergency services."

DiVincenzo said a lack of electrical power has limited the number of gas stations that can pump gas. "We have long lines throughout the county of people trying to get fuel."

The county executive had a piece of advice for residents: Conserve as much fuel as possible until we get the power on.

Though power restoration seems to be eeking along at a snail's pace, he said on Thursday the number of people without power was reduced from 270,000 to 133,000. "We're moving in the right direction," he said. "(Still) all towns have power outages."

DiVincenzo said he's had daily meetings with the power companies that serve Essex County and even though they are working around the clock, many essential services are relying on generators.

In other county news, the shelter at Codey Arena has been moved to the education building at Turtle Back Zoo. Residents are welcome to come to the zoo to stay warm, he said. On Thursday, there were 15 people at the shelter.

DiVincenzo also said the county was still trying to assess the extent of the damage countywide. County parks remained closed for safety reasons and repairs were needed to the roof of the Veterans Courthouse, which blew off during the storm. In addition, he said the ziplining course at the zoo was destroyed and several trees also fell at the zoo.

However, he said county buildings had reopened to serve the public.

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