NEWARK, NJ — A 77-year-old woman spent days trapped in her snow-covered van in Newark after this week’s major storm.
Newark firefighters shoveled a path to her driver’s side door and freed her on Thursday morning. The woman is homeless and had been living in the van, Mayor Ras Baraka said. She was able to contact police on Wednesday, but there was a miscommunication about where she was stuck.
After the first call, police searched records to try and figure out where the woman could be, Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said.
It wasn’t until 9:30 a.m. that first responders were able to get in touch with her and find her van on Lincoln Park near Spruce Street.
“We regret that human error played a role in delaying our response to the correct address, although we attempted to call her for a correction,” Ambrose said. “I’m grateful that she reached out again today and that this incident didn’t end tragically.”
The woman refused medical attention after she was freed from the van, officials said. She also did not want to be taken to a shelter or to a family member’s home.
Firefighters offered to shovel out the rest of her van, but she refused their help, officials said.
Around 16 inches of snow fell in Newark during the storm.