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Severe storm leaves damage behind in small town in New Jersey

<i>WPVI</i><br/>A severe storm hit the small town of Woodstown
A severe storm hit the small town of Woodstown

By TaRhonda Thomas

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    WOODSTOWN, New Jersey (WPVI) — A severe storm hit the small town of Woodstown, New Jersey on Saturday night, leaving damage in its wake.

Woodstown police say no one was hurt, but two homes are uninhabitable. The storm left many residents in the small town with a big cleanup ahead of them.

An uprooted tree caused concern in the cemetery of Spencer UAME Church, which is over 200 years old.

“I wanted to see if any of the trees fell on their gravestones,” said Lisa Braxton as she walked through the cemetery searching for family names.

Dozens of resting places were disturbed as winds uprooted trees in the cemetery.

Several of the graves underneath the branches were the graves of Black soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

“We’re just devastated at the moment. This is a historical site,” says Spencer UAME Pastor Andrew Fulton. “God had blessed us for over 205 years.”

Across the street from the church, Dan Jackson assessed the damage in his yard.

“It was really bad, really bad. All down the street – that guy just got a new roof put on his house, the tree came straight down on that,” said Jackson.

His house is along Bailey Street, where several homes had downed trees and limbs and toppled yard furniture.

Along South Main Street, ten power lines snapped in the storm.

“This is an extensive amount of damage,” said Amber Burruezo, spokesperson for Atlantic City Electric. “There are literally sections of the grid that we’ll be rebuilding.”

Crews worked through Saturday night and all day Sunday to remove the downed poles and replace them with new ones.

“Within the next 24 hours we’re going to ensure that this road is open,” said Burruezo.

About 4,000 people lost power in Woodstown Saturday night. As of Sunday morning, only about 60 were still without power. Atlantic City Electric credits its power grid with keeping the outages from being more widespread.

Neighbors also offered helping hands to one another.

“When you do need help, I think they’re all ready to jump in,” said John Fox of Elsinboro.

He was one of several people who helped Jackson clean up debris from his yard.

As powerful as the storm was, it left Spencer UAME Church unscathed, giving members gathered for Sunday service another reason to rejoice.

“It did spare the church so that’s a blessing,” said Braxton.

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