A 77-year-old New Jersey woman trapped in the van she had been living in was rescued after several days on Thursday, authorities said.
The woman had been sheltering in her van parked at 67 Lincoln Park, in Newark. She called police at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, saying she was unable to leave the van because it was stuck in snow, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said.
The Public Safety tele-communicator mistakenly logged the address as 67 Lincoln St., so when police arrived, they were unable to locate the navy blue minivan. Authorities called the number back, but no one on the other end picked up.
The woman called the Newark Fire Department at 9:30 Thursday morning, and six minutes later, firefighters found her inside of her car.
Firefighters shoveled a path to her driver’s side door and freed her from the vehicle. The woman refused medical attention as well as assistance to a shelter or to a family member’s home. Firefighters further offered to shovel out her vehicle, which she also refused.
“In light of the woman’s age and the fact that she’s a resident without an address, we combed through our records to pinpoint exactly when this incident was initially reported to us,” Ambrose said.
“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,” he said. “I’m grateful that she reached out again today and that this incident didn’t end tragically.”
The Newark Office of Homeless Services is working to offer assistance to the woman.