WARREN, NJ (CBSNewYork) – Ida’s remains swept the area last month, causing massive destruction.
But what comes through is strangers helping strangers.
CBS2’s Meg Baker has found a Somerset County man on a quest to find the hero who saved him from the flood waters.
Joseph Rotondo showed a fence to show how high the water had reached as he sat stuck in his car.
“It seemed like seconds, less than a minute. I have, or had, a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and it started to float, ”Rotondo said.
Rotondo was on a rescue mission. His daughter called, saying she couldn’t make it home because of the flooding, but he only walked half a mile when he said the brook on Brookside Drive quickly turned into a raging river.
Pictures: Hurricane Ida Remnants Batter Tri-State
“Finally hit a telephone pole,” he said.
Rotondo, 63, said the telephone pole saved his life, preventing him from going further into the stream.
“When you look around and there’s water all around you and it gets in the vehicle, and you say, okay, there aren’t a lot of options here.” , did he declare. “It can’t be how it ends. It cannot end this way.
The father of four says he has tried to stay calm.
“In my head I said if it goes [my chin] I will start to panic and maybe at that point I will get out of the vehicle, ”he said.
The water rose to his chest, not his chin.
Then headlights and a big, raised pickup truck.
“I honked and flashed the lights. I don’t even know if it worked. Waving. You don’t know, you’re in such a state at this point, ”Rotondo said. “He pulled this truck as close to my vehicle as possible… so I open the door, he reached out his arm to his truck, grabbed me and pulled me inside.
“He’s like ‘Where do you want to go?’ I’m like ‘I don’t care’, ”added Rotondo. “Drop me off on dry land. I do not care.
The mystery driver brought Rotondo home.
“Looking for who it was because it all happened so fast,” Baker said.
“Right now, there is too much going on. Then you say ‘Wow, thank you. Where do you come from? God sent you, ”said Rotondo.
The only information he got from his rescuer was that he was trying to reach a street named William Penn Way on the other side of town. He hopes to see him again.
Rotondo’s daughter stayed safe in her car, away from the floodwaters.
Meg Baker of CBS2 contributed to this report.