New Jersey firefighters on Thursday rescued a 77-year-old woman who said she had been trapped in her van for five days after this week's snow storm.
Janette Ward told NBC New York that she fell asleep in the van she has been living in, parked in Newark, on Sunday and woke up on Monday unable to get out after a storm dumped more than 18 inches of snow on the region.
She first called authorities on Wednesday afternoon to report she was trapped in her vehicle at 67 Lincoln Park, according to a statement from Newark's Department of Public Safety. But the dispatcher logged the address as 67 Lincoln Street, and when responders arrived, they could not find her navy blue mini van.
They called Ward back, hoping to clear up the confusion, but she did not answer, said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
She then contacted authorities again on Thursday morning, at which point firefighters responded immediately, locating Ward six minutes after her call.
The firefighters shoveled a path to Ward's driver's side door and freed her from the vehicle, according to the statement from the public safety department. She refused medical attention and offers from the firefighters to dig out the van completely.
"Right now I'm just glad to be standing on my feet," Ward told NBC New York 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."
Baraka said the Ward lives inside her van and the Newark Office of Homeless Services is offering her help.
“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,” Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said. “I’m grateful that she reached out again today and that this incident didn’t end tragically.”