Health center, homes feel effects of storm

The tree crushed a 1995 Buick LeSabre that was housed inside, but fortunately nobody was injured.

July 8, 2011 6:32:14 AM PDT
A storm knocked the power out in parts of New Jersey, while other residents had to deal with the damage caused by fallen trees.

Just after 6:30 p.m. in Blackwood, New Jersey, a severe pop-up thunderstorm caused havoc at the Camden County Health Services Center on Woodbury-Turnersville Road.

The facility, which houses 150 elderly hospital patients and 300 long-term care residents, lost power when officials say lightning blew out the center's power distribution transformer.

"We have no electricity. Our emergency generator can't function because the transformer is damaged and the power can't be distributed throughout the building," Kevin Halpern, CEO of Camden Health Services Center, told Action News.

With no power and, consequently, no air conditioning, fire rescue personnel had to mobilize a massive evacuation plan until power could be restored to the facility tomorrow.

"Our long term-care patients are being temporarily moved to the Ann Mullen Middle School which is, by design, part of our evacuation plan, and they are going with our staff with their clinical support materials," Halpern said.

Another 150 hospital patients were temporarily being relocated to the Camden County Fire Training Center across from the health complex.

The power has since been restored at the Camden County Health Complex and patients were returned to the facility Friday morning.

The fast moving storm caused other trouble in South Jersey Thursday night.

In Bellmawr, Camden County, high winds brought down a large swamp maple tree on a shed and garage in the 300 block of 4th Avenue.

"I seen the wind kicking up and I look out and I looked over, because I knew that tree was going to go down and as soon I turned around, it went," witness Chris Fagulo said.

The tree crushed a 1995 Buick LeSabre that was housed inside, but fortunately nobody was injured.

"We can see that back window is shattered, but nobody's got enough nerve to crawl under to see how bad it is," owner Kathy Fletcher said.

Also in Bellmawr, at 1053 Creek Road, a large tree came crashing down through the bedroom of a home causing major damage.

A relative says the homeowners were away and nobody was injured.

Meanwhile, back at the Camden County Health Services Center, officials are hoping to have the service restored to facility sometime Friday morning.