40,000 without power in NJ

WOODBURY HEIGHTS, NJ - October 20, 2008 - Private contractors working for Connectiv were installing new high voltage power lines when one of the lines somehow came loose.

That line fell and hit other power and utility lines below, causing a power surge that cut electricity to those tens of thousands of people. The wire also fell onto Northbound I-295 traffic at exit 15. No one was hurt.

The outage affected a widespread area, including West Deptford Township, Woodbury Heights, and parts of Deptford Township and Mantua Township.

"Everything we have out here is run by electric, the heat, the stove, the water because we have well water. So it's really inconvenient," said Janice Lombardo of Greenwich Twp., New Jersey.

In some parts of the area, people spent the night by candlelight. Police were also called out to direct cars in areas where traffic lights were out.

At the Repaulpo Volunteer Fire Company in Logan Township, they were using a generator for power.

"We'll be here as long as we need to be to serve the residents of our municipalities that are surrounding Logan Township," said Chief Evan McCormick.

In Woodbury Heights, the Hollywood Diner was left in the dark at the height of dinner hour. "We were still serving dinner while the power was out. We're still open, a couple of tables are still here," said diner manager John Karamisa.

Officials from Connectiv have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Gloucester County officials tell Action News this is the second accident involving this high voltage power line replacement project. A week and a half ago another one of those lines fell onto I-295, hitting a tow truck and disrupting power. No one was injured in that incident.

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