Last week, we experienced an unprecedented flooding event when the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped ten inches of rain in a matter of hours in our area. The quick and professional efforts of our first responders most certainly saved lives and property, and we are very fortunate that Westfield did not experience the catastrophic property damage and heartbreaking loss of life that occurred in neighboring communities.
Although Ida spared us the worst of it, the ravages of the storm did cause many of our residents to suffer their own personal loss and trauma, including flooded basements and substantial property damage bringing financial burdens, as well as the fear of being trapped in homes with rapidly rising water, or in their vehicle on a flooded road.
Managing through this storm and the subsequent clean up efforts have required all hands on deck, and our Town employees have once again risen to the occasion.
In a 24-hour period between September 1 and September 2, the Westfield Police Department processed 1,300 9-1-1 calls, dispatched over 120 calls, and deployed 167 resources. Over 60 cars were stranded with passengers trapped inside, and some residents were trapped on a rooftop, all heroically rescued by our Police and Fire Departments who then provided them with food and shelter in our Community Room. Our Fire Department spent the next day pumping out the basements of residents and businesses to get them operating again. The DPW has worked tirelessly overseeing the cleanup, initially pushing stranded cars off the streets, then managing the car loads of debris brought to the Conservation Center, and currently overseeing the curbside pickup of bulky waste from affected homes.
Once again, stories abound of neighbors helping neighbors, both during the storm and in its aftermath, which has become a hallmark of our community. Thank you for looking out for one another.
I’d like to extend our appreciation and deepest gratitude to the Westfield Police and Fire Departments, Department of Public Works, our volunteer Rescue Squad, and Town Administrator Jim Gildea for their tireless efforts to keep us safe and get us back in operation. Once again, the unparalleled dedication and professionalism of our Town employees was on full display during this latest crisis, and we should all be proud of their tremendous efforts. -- Mayor Shelley Brindle