Customers of Scotch Plains storage facility flooded by Ida say they are being denied access to ruined items

Hundreds of New Jersey residents say that they are locked out of their own storage units in Union County. They say that their belongings are now off-limits and likely destroyed by flooding from Ida.

News 12 Staff

Oct 14, 2021, 8:43 PM

Updated 915 days ago

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Hundreds of New Jersey residents say that they are locked out of their own storage units in Union County. They say that their belongings are now off-limits and likely destroyed by flooding from Ida.
Alysa McKenna, of Baskin Ridge, says that the items stored inside her unit at Public Storage on Route 22 in Scotch Plains are more than just material items.
“My grandma’s Christmas china…pictures and birthday cards of my father who has passed away,” she says.
She says that these items are her memories, her past and her future. She says that the owners of the facility say it is all trash.
“I don’t understand how it’s up to them to decide to throw my stuff away. And I’ve paid for that unit,” McKenna says.
She is in the process of buying a new home and has nearly everything she owns in the basement unit. It was flooded by Ida. She and many other customers say that Public Storage did not tell them how bad the flooding was until it was too late.
"Everything is completely contaminated at this point because it was closed off for two or three weeks. We couldn't access the building. So anything that could have been salvaged, they are telling us now cannot,” McKenna says.
News 12 New Jersey tried to get answers from the management, but security escorted the crew off the property and advised them to call the corporate office in California.
A spokesperson for Public Storage said in a statement, “Hurricane Ida was New Jersey’s second most devastating storm on record, and we deeply sympathize with our customers who lost belongings as a result of the damage it caused. We made every attempt to allow customers into the facility, but as we previously communicated to all affected customers, our certified environmental health and safety consultants at Hillmann Consulting have determined that there is no safe way to access the affected area and the items stored there due to raw sewage, toxins, and hazardous mold caused by the storm. We had no choice but to declare items stored in the affected area a total loss and unsalvageable and to have certified personnel dispose of those items appropriately for the safety of our employees, customers, and the community.”
The statement continued, “We understand this situation is disappointing and challenging for our customers. For affected customers, we have refunded September’s rent and are not charging for October. We are committed to providing our customers with photos and other documentation needed for insurance. We will continue to work with customers to help address their needs and guide them through the insurance claims process.”
But McKenna and other customers say that they want access to their items, especially those that can be salvaged and sanitized. They also want financial compensation for what the insurance won’t cover.
“Not only is there the financial burden to replace all our items, but there’s that void left in your heart because there are certain things that can’t be replaced,” McKenna says.
Some customers say that they have hired lawyers and were able to keep the company from throwing out their items for now.


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