77-Year-Old NJ Woman Rescued From Van After 5 Days Under Snow

The woman woke up in her van after last week's powerful nor'easter and couldn't get out

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New Jersey firefighters on Thursday rescued a 77-year-old woman who had been trapped in her vehicle for days due to snow.

Janette Ward of Newark says she has been living in her van and fell asleep inside on Sunday at 67 Lincoln Park. She woke up after a powerful nor'easter dumped heavy snow on the region and she was unable to get out of her car by herself.

Ward called police for help on Wednesday but rescuers were unable to find her because a Public Safety Tele-communicator mistakenly logged the address as 67 Lincoln Street, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said.

“When she first contacted police yesterday, there was an error made with logging the correct address. Police officers called her back for the correct address, but received no answer,” Baraka said in a statement on Thursday.

Ward tried contacting authorities again on Thursday morning and the fire department were able to locate her and rescue her. It's unclear how much snow was on her vehicle but according to the National Weather Service, Newark Liberty International Airport, which is a few miles away from where Ward was found, had gotten around 18 inches of snow.

Firefighters had to shovel a path to the door of Ward's van, according to authorities. She refused medical attention after she was freed and she didn't want firefighters to shovel out her vehicle.

"Right now I'm just glad to be standing on my feet," Ward said Thursday. "I don't know if you've ever had to do this but I've been in there sitting down for five days and I just thank God that I can stand up."

Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said that he's glad Ward is safe and that "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."

The City of Newark confirmed on Sunday that Ward had accepted a new residence made possible by a housing program for seniors.

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