During Tropical Storm Ida on Sept. 1, members of the Hillsborough Police Department responded to multiple incidents involving water rescues of citizens whose vehicles became disabled in quickly rising flood waters.
Once waters began to recede, two vehicles in separate locations were discovered in which the occupants were found deceased.
Cheryl Talke, 61, of Belle Mead, was recovered at Route 206 near the Montgomery border.
Daphnee Francisca Lopez Del Bono, 30, a resident of Santiago, Chile, who resided in Ringoes, was recovered from Amwell Road near North Willow.
According to a GoFundMe page set up for Lopez, “on behalf of Uceda International and Uceda Institute, we started this fund to assist Daphne Lopez’s family in the funeral and transport costs. Daphne was an international student of ours from Chile and tragically died in the flood on Sept. 1, 2021. Please help us help her family by contributing to this fund. The funds will be used to repatriate Daphne’s body back to Chile.”
For information on how to support the Lopez family, visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-with-funeral-and-transport
Carts are set up by the gazebo, rear of the Municipal Building, 379 S. Branch Road, for donations of goods. Items needed at this time include cleaning products, bug spray, baby wipes, baby formula, diapers, personal hygiene products and food donations.
Monetary donations can be made through Hillsborough’s Community Assistance Network (CAN). Visit www.hillsborough-nj.org/social-services-page-list/291-community-assistance-network for more information.
Those in need of assistance should email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Labor Day, C.A.N. offered donations of food, water, clothing, cleaning products and school supplies outside of the municipal building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In addition, Feeding Hands Pantry, which just recently moved from Hillsborough down Route 206 to Raritan Township, was devastated by flooding.
Visit www.feedinghandspantry.org for other ways to contribute.
Pinnacle Health and Fitness on Brower Lane is offering its shower facilities to the public. There are three newly renovated locker rooms available: a men’s, women’s and a family locker room.
Water and ice are being provided by JCP&L. In Somerset County, visit ShopRite at 93 Morristown Road (Route 202) in Bernardsville, or at 3166 Route 22 in Somerville.
Visit www.firstenergycorp.com/outages_help/storm_info/water-ice.html for a complete list of locations throughout the state.
Contacting insurance companies for private property damage
If private property (yard, driveway, ditches, private lanes, trees) was damaged due to Ida, the township recommends contacting your homeowner or flood insurance company first to see what may be covered, and then contact a private landscape/drainage contractor and, or private civil engineer, for advice and design.
The township cannot recommend redesigns or contractors for private property. If there is damage to the public road you can contact the township’s Public Works Department or Somerset County depending if you live on a township or county road.
Homes deemed unsafe
If your home has been posted unsafe by the Hillsborough Township Construction Office due to flood damage, note the following:
- Do not attempt to turn on gas or electricity from the meter or panel.
- Demolition and repair of the structure requires permits.
- Structural damage requires repair plans from a registered New Jersey engineer or architect.
- Contact your homeowners Insurance and deal with only contractors that are approved by your Insurance company.
- Contractor are required to be licensed by the State of New Jersey, ask for contractor licensing.
- If your house has been posted unsafe you and your family should not be living within the structure.
- If your meter gas and/or electric has been removed by the utility company you will need approval from the Building Department for the utilities to be turned back on.
- All appliances that have been under flood water will need to be removed. This includes, but is not limited to, furnaces and air conditioners, water heaters, stoves, refrigerators, washers/dryers etc.
Homes not deemed unsafe
If your home has sustained flood damage but has not been posted unsafe, note the following:
- The electricity should be shut off in the area of the damage. Gas may need to be shut while the damage is assessed.
- If water heaters and furnaces have been submerged the appliance will need to be removed and replaced.
- Permits are required for repairs. The township permit fees will be waived until Dec. 31 for Ida-related damages. Hillsborough Township’s Building Department’s contact number is 908-369-5882.
Well water check
Generator use safety tips
- Keep generators outside of your home.
- Do not use the generator in the garage.
- Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
- Refuel generators carefully.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
- Use the appropriately sized and type power cords to carry the electric load.
- Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
- Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
Dangers of mold
In terms of mold, there are more than 200,000 known species. Mold grows from spores and spores are found everywhere, both inside and outside. The spores need moisture and food to grow. Some common food sources that mold use include wood, wallpaper, sheetrock, paper, wool, leather, hair and dust.
The key to preventing or eliminating mold growth is to remove the moisture.
Rather than focus on what kind of mold you found, focus on finding the source of the moisture which caused the mold in the first place.
If mold is on hard, non-porous material, like wood, countertops:
Ventilate the area or room as much as possible. Open windows and doors while working and place fans in the windows, blowing the air outside.
An N95 mask should be worn while working.
Protect the rest of home by hanging plastic sheeting in doorways.
Do not spray mold with bleach. Bleach will kill mold, but the bleach will dissipate and leave water on whatever you sprayed, which will feed new mold.
Also, when mold dies, it can be more harmful than when it was alive.
Instead, make a solution with trisodium phosphate or a mild detergent and water. Scrub hard/non-porous items with a brush or wipe with clothes, then wipe dry.
Use as little water as possible when mixing cleaning solutions, as the key is to use it to help remove mold and dry the surface as quickly as possible. Soaking a surface, even with a cleaning agent, will lead to new mold growth.
Use fans, increased ventilation, or dehumidifier in the work area to remove moisture ASAP.
If mold is on soft, porous material, like drywall or furniture:
Item or material must be discarded/replaced. There is no way for you to completely remove all spores, and if any are left, it will begin to grow again.
If you aren’t comfortable removing the mold, hire a professional company that deals with mold remediation.
If mold grew once, it can come back if you don’t remove the moisture.
Increase ventilation to the area, or use a dehumidifier to remove moisture.
Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are draining away from the foundation of your house.
Also, make sure the grading around your house is pitched away from your house.
For additional guidance, visit the U.S. EPA mold website at www.epa.gov/mold
Storm-related debris dropoff
The Auten Road Facility will resume operations on Sept. 7 for storm-related debris dropoff from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will remain open through Sept. 10 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., daily.
Further contact information
To contact Social Services or the Health Department during non-business hours, call the police department’s non-emergency number at 908-369-4323.
To assist residents with storm-related matters, the Building Department can be reached at 908-369-5882 during normal operating hours.
Editor’s Note: The majority of this information was compiled from Hillsborough Township e-newsletters and updates.