A quickly-rising river near Homestead Run Mobile Home Park is causing an evacuation of 30 residents there, officials said.
Emergency responders are searching homes in the evacuation area of the neighborhood, verifying homes are vacant or evacuating residents to Toms River Intermediate School North. The mobile home park has not had power since 11 p.m. Saturday, residents said.
Homestead Run, off Route 70 and Fireside Boulevard, is near the northern branch of the Toms River.
The river, which snakes alongside the development, quickly began rising to flood levels at around 8 p.m. tonight, officials said. By 8:30 p.m., an evacuation operation was already underway, officials said.
The river there has been rising all day, gradually, but “in the last hour it’s come up quite a bit,” said Mary Skerrite, property manager for Homestead Run.
She’s not seen flooding like this in the 11 years she’s worked at the mobile home park, she said. “Sometimes it comes into the parking lot but not to where anyone’s been evacuated.”
Fire department personnel are going around house to house shining flashlights into homes within the evacuation area to make sure they are vacant.
Portions of Calm and Serene roads are flooded and completely impassable.
“There’s not that many communities built near the river, but this happens to be one of them,” said the police chief. While other areas surrounding the river have vegetation and are wooded, which prevents the water from rising, this area does not, the police chief said.
So far, 30 homes must be evacuated, said Mastronardy. Toms River Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Paul Daley said 11 of those evacuees are being sheltered at Toms River Intermediate School North.
Some residents have left on their own, but a Toms River Regional School bus is available to transport residents to the Pleasant Plains substation for staging, Mastronardy said, before the residents are transported to Intermediate North School on Intermediate North Way for shelter.
“The first thing is to get everyone out,” Craig Biereaum, safety officer from Pleasant Plains Volunteer Fire Department. He said it’s unclear how far the flooding will reach. “We’re trying to get all these people out as a precaution.”
Serene Way resident Ken Diehl, who lives on a portion outside the evacuation area, said the flooding is unprecedented.
“That’s the worst I’ve seen it, ever,” Diehl said. He’s lived here for over 30 years.