New Jersy firefighters rescue wave runner rider stuck in waist deep mud

New Jersy firefighters rescue wave runner rider stuck in waist deep mud. North Wildwood firefighters rescued a man who became stuck in mud, the department said. Firefighters rescued a person who was stuck up to his chest in mud after the wave-runner he was riding became disabled in North Wildwood, the department said.

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Emergency crews responded by boat and on land after a call for the stranded rider came in around 9 p.m. Sunday, according to the fire department.

“Crews could hear the wave-runner operator blowing his whistle but it took some time to locate his exact position [due to] poor visibility,” the department said in a statement.

Rescuers located him 1,000 feet from the closest area reachable by boat, officials said. With a helicopter unavailable, two firefighters from North Wildwood’s Ladder 2 trekked into the marsh.

“Upon reaching the area they found the victim had sunk to approximately waist/chest depth attempting to free himself from the mud,” officials wrote in the statement. “The victim was safely removed from the mud and was assisted back to the awaiting boats.”

The rescue operation took about three hours, according to the department. Located near West Spruce Avenue, the area includes small islands and is not far from Grassy Point.

On his 1st day in office, N.J.’s new acting Attorney General targets illegal dumping

An illegal dumpsite on Chestnut Street in Camden is the focus of a new lawsuit filed by the state. Courtesy of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.Courtesy of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

In his first day as New Jersey’s top law enforcement official, Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck took on a long-running illegal dumping operation in South Jersey.

On Monday, Bruck’s office was joined by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in asking a court to force the clean-up of a massive pile of dirt and construction debris in the heart of Camden.

“No community in New Jersey should be used as an illegal dumping ground, and no resident of this state should have their health and safety put at risk by illegal dumping near their home,” Bruck said in a statement. “We cannot achieve racial justice without environmental justice, and I’m proud that one of my first acts as Acting Attorney General involves standing up for the people of Camden.”

The uncovered pile on the 600 block of Chestnut Street, not far from the Delaware River and the Camden waterfront, is spilling onto neighboring properties and into sidewalks and streets. It’s a major source of dust blowing through the surrounding neighborhood, and that dust isn’t harmless, officials have said. Soil testing done by the DEP in November at the dump site found elevated levels of harmful substances like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and chromium, both of which are known carcinogens.

The state first sued over the site in May, but DEP scrutiny of the property dates back to 2002, according to the new filings. That lawsuit was filed against S. Yaffa & Sons, Inc., the former owner of the property and alleged initiator of the dumping, and Weyhill Realty Holdings, LLC, which bought the land in 2019.

The state alleges Weyhill allowed the dumping to continue after it purchased the site. City officials directed Weyhill to cease operations at the property in April. Weyhill has complied with the stop-work order, but has not conducted any clean-up work, according to the state.

Yaffa & Sons, Inc. and Weyhill Realty Holdings, LLC could not immediately be reached for comment.

The new request for court action seeks to force Weyhill to stabilize the pile to prevent a potential landslide onto neighboring property, and to immediately begin cleaning the site. The state also asks that clean-up work be done in a manner that prevents further air and water pollution. And, the state is seeking fines against the defendants for ongoing violations of state environmental laws.

DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette called the dump “intolerable.”

“Those who violate our waste laws are not just harming our environment, they are damaging the spirit of our communities, in effect saying that our fellow New Jerseyans are somehow less deserving of natural beauty and environmental protection,” LaTourette said in a statement.

The legal fight over this site isn’t the first time the state has taken William Yocco, the owner of Yaffa & Sons, to court. In 2019, the DEP sued Yocco over illegal dumping on the same street, just blocks from the dirt pile now at issue.

Roy Jones, a Camden environmental justice advocate and founder of the National Institute for Healthy Human Spaces, said the state’s latest action is a good first step, but stressed that more needs to be done. Jones called on state and local leaders to test air and groundwater quality in the immediate vicinity of the dump site, and health screenings for residents living within a five-block radius.

Ultimately, Jones said, the affected neighbors need to be compensated for the damage caused by the illegal dump.

“Unless the state is doing some of the other things that we’re asking them to do, it’s not enough,” Jones said. “It’s a good start, but it’s not all of the things that the community needs done at the moment.

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