Hurricane force winds and pounding rains have ripped trees from the earth, gnarled power lines and blown transformers, sending sparks shooting into the night sky and leaving thousands without power in Fair Lawn Monday evening.
"We're getting hammered right now," said Lt. Derek Bastinck, who noted the department has been hit with a barrage of calls for transformer explosions, live wires down and trees crashing into homes over the past few hours.
By 9:15 p.m., the emergency operations center had taken 40 calls for downed trees, 17 for downed wires and 14 for fire alarms. The Fair Lawn Rescue Squad has performed nearly three-dozen rescues of residents whose homes were damaged by trees or whose basements were flooded, borough manager Tom Metzler said.
According to PSE&G's Outage Map, between 5,001 and 10,000 Fair Lawn residents are without power -- the majority of them in the Radburn School area east toward Saddle River Road -- and they're likely to remain that way for an extended period of time.
Emergency Management Coordinator Ira Marks said PSE&G won't even send its workers out until wind gusts drop below 30 miles per hour -- which isn't expected until 8 p.m. Tuesday -- and the utility has said it could be a week before power is restored.
Midland Avenue at Cambridge Road and Plaza Road at Berdan Avenue are the two most major roadways blocked by downed trees, but multiple smaller roads also remain impassable. Radburn Road and parts of Maple Avenue near Glen Rock are also blocked.
While powerful wind gusts that have reached nearly 80 miles per hour at times have caused extensive damage across town, earlier flood warnings have failed to materialize.
Metzler said evacuations are not being considered because only one resident reported flooding in his basement and neither the Passaic nor the Saddle river's water levels are not expected to reach flood stage.