The Morganville Independent Fire Company was a haven for people whose cellphones were running out of power Wednesday morning.
Refugees from continuing power outages waited patiently on folding chairs for a chance to plug into one of several power strips laid out on a card table, with an extension cord running out the door to a humming portable generator.
Melissa Olivarez of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), presided with clipboard in hand, taking each person's name as they entered and calling them in turn whenever a slot on a power strip was freed up.
By 10:30 am, some 40 phones had been charged. "Some people come in with a couple," she said. "And I think some people just like a break, to get out of the house."
The charging service was open to whoever came through the door and the location, near the border with neighboring Matawan Borough, was readily accessible to both municipalities. Cell phones and "medical devices" were eligible for the power boost, according to Olivarez and Robert Cromer, the fire company's first assistant chief.
"So far we've had one kid with a portable nebulizer that needed charging and an older person with a portable oxygen tank," Cromer said.
The fire station's other attraction was evident from the enticing scent of fresh coffee wafting from its kitchen, where volunteers were busy brewing fresh coffee and preparing pancakes on the station's big commercial gas stove.
"Oh God," one woman said, as she headed toward the kitchen. "Hot coffee. I haven't had coffee for two days."
Olivarez, herself a Marlboro resident, said people visiting the firehouse had been patient and cordial. "It's true," she said. "I also notice people out on the street actually talk to their neighbors when something bad happens."