One Year Since Sandy Hit Westfield: A Look Back
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 • 12:03pm
WESTFIELD, NJ — It was Oct. 28, 2012. Westfield’s Halloween parade had just ended and the skies were growing dark, the wind whipping candy wrappers and discarded bits of costumes along the streets. At an emergency town council meeting in the municipal building, Westfield Fire Chief Daniel Kelly warned “This is a storm of historical proportion.”
“We are very, very prepared for everything that comes our way,” said Town Administrator Jim Gildea.
But officials would later say that nothing could have completely prepared Westfield for what happened next. Police, firefighters and the rescue squad worked around the clock as the superstorm pummeled the area, bringing down many of Westfield’s huge, old trees, knocking out power, crushing roofs and cars and blocking roadways.
After the storm, 153 of Westfield’s roads were closed. Downtown Westfield businesses remained without power for nearly a week. Communication was knocked back into the 19th Century--Mayor Andy Skibitsky resorted to asking people to hand out flyers containing important information. Public schools remained closed for two weeks. Thirteen Westfield homes were condemned, and 53 more were seriously damaged. Electricity, gasoline and patience were in short supply.
Yet Westfield residents and businesses gave back, helping each other and those in communities hit far harder.
When it came to neighbors helping each other during the crisis, “It’s not surprising that I heard many, many stories,” said Skibitsky at the town’s reorganization meeting Jan. 2.
Bit by bit, the lights came on. The schools re-opened. More and more gas stations began pumping gas, and Westfield kids even got to trick-or-treat in their own neighborhoods, a few weeks late.
A look back:
“Westfield Braces for Hurricane Sandy”: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/westfield-braces-for-hurricane-sandy
“Westfield Picking up the Pieces After Hurricane Sandy: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/westfield-picking-up-the-pieces-after-hurricane-s
“Downtown Westfield Returns to Life”: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/downtown-westfield-returns-to-life
“Town Teams with Westfield United Fund to Create Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund”: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/town-teams-with-westfield-united-fund-to-create-h
“Blackouts Continue in Westfield as Repairs are Made”: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/blackouts-continue-in-westfield-as-repairs-are-ma
"Westfield Holds Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Election Night": http://www.thealternativepress.com/articles/westfield-holds-virtual-town-hall-meeting-on-elec
“Westfield Residents Come Together to Help Those Affected by Sandy”: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/westfield-residents-come-together-to-help-those-a
“Westfield Celebrates Halloween in November:” http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/westfield/articles/westfield-celebrates-halloween-in-november
“Westfield’s Mayor Recaps a Challenging Year at Annual Reorganization Meeting:” http://www.thealternativepress.com/articles/westfields-mayor-recaps-a-challenging-year-at-an