300 Snowstorm Victims Rescued; Baby Delivered PDF Print E-mail

West Orange – Hours after rescuing and sheltering more than 300 people stranded by blizzard conditions last night on Route 280, Essex County sheriff’s officers this morning assisted in the delivery of a baby boy.

The post-Christmas snowstorm dumped more than two feet of the white stuff across Essex County, causing massive snowdrifts and shutting down vehicular traffic for hours. As a result of the snow and ice, scores of cars, vans, buses and trucks could not surmount the steep hills of Route 280.

Essex County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management personnel, working in tandem with the West Orange fire and police departments and the New Jersey State Police, labored throughout the night to locate the marooned victims and take them to emergency shelters where they were provided with hot coffee, food, blankets and a place to rest.

At 8:00 a.m. this morning, Detective John Frucci of the Essex County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad was on patrol when he came across a car stuck in a snowdrift that contained a man, his wife who was in labor and their young son. The Jersey City residents were lost as they attempted to make their way to Saint Barnabas Hospital in Livingston.

“With the woman ready to deliver at any moment, Detective Frucci called for his back-up Detective Vincent Fortunato who was in the immediate area and who happens to be one of our Emergency Medical Technicians,” Sheriff Fontoura said.

As Det. Fontunato arrived, the woman gave three pushes and birth to a 6-pound, 10-ounce boy in the front seat of the family Toyota.

“A case of perfect timing,” Sheriff Fontoura noted. “Fortunato hopped into the car and he and Det. Frucci escorted the family to the hospital. Dad was a little frantic but mom, their 5-year-old son and the newborn baby took it all in stride. I’m sure it’s a snowstorm they’ll never forget.”

Once the storm subsided, sheriff’s officers and OEM personnel escorted local residents back to their vehicles and reunited them with their families. Arrangements were made for discounted hotel rooms for long distance travelers.