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Irene: Many Parsippany Residents Seeking Storm Supplies Out of Luck

Local stores' shelves empty of batteries, flashlights and generators

Store plazas in Parsippany were hopping today, with residents and those from neighboring communities on the lookout for hot storm-related commodities–mainly batteries, bottled water and flashlights.

A store manager at Kmart in Parsippany, who asked that his name not be printed due to store policies, said items were flew off the shelves, as the store was “extremely busy yesterday and today.”

Batteries and flashlights were cleared off shelves. There were no generators available. The store anticipates new shipments Monday morning.

Many customers entered and almost immediately exited Dollar Power of Parsippany. Owner and manager John Yun explained that patrons had exhausted the supply of batteries and flashlights.

Although lines were forming in front of store registers, Yun said Friday was much busier, as people gathered supplies to prepare in advance of the incoming storm front. He noted that his store would most likely close at 4 pm, so that he and his staff could get home safely, and that he anticipated closing on Sunday.

At ShopRite of Parsippany, there was more than the usual weekend rush.

Store Manager Tony D’Agostino ticked off out-of-stock items, including “water, flashlights, batteries and matches.” Earlier in the day there had been a run on milk, bread and eggs, however, a shipment arrived, putting those those items back on shelves as people stocked up on essential food items. Shop-Rite open regular hours Saturday, however, management has made the decision to remain closed on Sunday.

Parking at Home Depot became a competitive sport as drivers vied for spots.

Greg Moller of Morristown was busy securing plywood in his vehicle.

"I'll be using them to board up the windows," he explained.

Inside, Manager Tanya Kaplan calmly gave information to homeowners queued to ask questions. She noted the Home Depot branch was out of C- and D-size batteries, sump pump backup alarms and hoses, sand, generators, inverters for car batteries up to 110 volts and flashlights. 

Kaplain said Home Depot brought in extra staffers in anticipation of the rush, so the store has experts on hand to answer questions and give advice about available products, as well as on how to brace for the storm.

As we spoke, an unidentified store patron approached and asked, "Do you have battery backup for my refrigerator?” When she suggested a generator, but noted they did not have any in stock at the current time, he hurried off.

Aileen Tabon of New York City, who had been evacuated from her own home,  had a cart filled with items, including a charcoal grill, bucket, tarp and duct tape, which she intended to bring back to her family in Parsippany. She noted the grill would be used for food preparation in the event of power loss.

Parsippany resident Ed Mayhew had two large empty canisters of water he planned to swap for full bottles.

“I am concerned about the loss of power and flooding,” he said. “I’m also on the lookout for some bungee cords to secure some outdoor items.”

Jim Frederick, who lives near Parsippany's Rockaway Meadow School, expressed concern over what could happen if his two sump pumps malfunction.

“If those fail, my cellar fills with water," he said. "My washer and dryer are both down there.” 

Asked for advice he could give to those in a similar situation, he shook his head.

"Go upstairs and go to bed," he offered.

JB August 27, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Hopefully, when we all get up tomorrow, Irene will have come and gone, and none of us will have experienced anything catastrophic.

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