Murphy reports 2 additional Ida-related deaths in New Jersey, bringing total to 27

Cars make their way through flooded streets and around abandoned cars in Teterboro

Cars make their way through flooded streets and around abandoned cars in Teterboro, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

The deaths were “largely concentrated in central Jersey and a few in the north,” Murphy said.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy confirmed two additional Ida-related deaths in New Jersey, bringing the total to 27.

Murphy made his way through flood-ravaged Birchview Gardens in Middlesex County Saturday, hoping to restore those whose livelihood washed away as remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded the region.

The governor’s visit comes as the community grieves the loss of a resident whose body was found Friday night nearby, according to authorities.

“Some concerned friends reported him missing – we are only surmising what happened, but the individual may have been carried out by the current,” said Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler.

On Friday, Murphy announced that at least 25 people were killed in flooding across New Jersey. The death toll also includes two Mercer County residents.

The deaths were “largely concentrated in central Jersey and a few in the north,” Murphy said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The majority of the deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were overtaken by the water, according to the governor.

Murphy reminded residents of the dangerous conditions on the roads.

“Do not assume your car or truck can handle it. Do not assume you know how deep the water is. If you must travel, do not drive into flooded areas,” he said.

Julie Blake, the mayor of Hopewell Township, said two residents died in the storm.

“I am so sorry to report that we lost two individuals in the storm. These losses cannot be assessed or recovered. Despite the heroic efforts of our valley’s first responders and the efforts of so many in the County and the State, two families will grieve and suffer their personal loss,” she said.

Four residents of an apartment complex in Elizabeth were found dead in the aftermath, according to a city spokesperson.

Oakwood Plaza, located across from the Elizabeth Fire Department headquarters, was inundated with eight feet of water, destroying fire equipment and apparatus.

Rescuers were going door-to-door through the complex to check for additional victims.

Mayor Chris Bollage said the city is assisting some 300 displaced residents.

A person in a car was killed after becoming trapped in six feet of floodwaters in Passaic, after the Passaic River flooded, prompting evacuations of 60 residents to City Hall.

According to a preliminary investigation, firefighters and rescue crews pulled 25-year-old Jonathan Jalil and his 66-year-old mother Isable Jalil from the submerged car at Passaic Avenue and Lackawanna Place in what the mayor described as a heroic effort, but they were unable to save their 70-year-old father and husband, Luis Jalil-Solarzario, who drowned.

Rescue workers were searching for two others who may have been swept away.

“Unfortunately we have confirmed the loss of a life within the city of Passaic and have unconfirmed reports of additional lives that have been lost,” Mayor Hector Lora said.

Describing the rescue effort, Lora said the car was overtaken by water and “firefighters were being dragged down under the vehicle and the vehicle began to float away.”

“We are now dealing with the aftermath in our city,” he said. “We see vehicles that were abandoned, so many individuals that were injured had to leave property behind.”

Somerset County confirmed two fatalities from the flooding in two separate incidents in Hillsborough as well as two bodies recovered in Bridgewater, and Hunderton County officials said one person was found dead in a heavily damaged pickup truck that was discovered at daylight in Milford.

Another person was found dead in Maplewood after venturing out into the storm. Authorities said it appeared he had been attempting to remove debris from drains in the area when he was suddenly swept up into dangerous flood waters.

Water rescues were underway with people sitting on their roofs in Cranford, where entire neighborhoods were under water and rescue crews were using boats to aid people in their evacuation.

Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties and urged people to stay off the flooded roads.

“An extraordinary, sadly tragic, historic 24 hours in New Jersey,” he said. “There’s no other way to put it.”

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for New Jersey late Thursday night, unlocking federal resources to help with the state’s relief efforts.

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