The number of homes without power in Cumberland County continued to decrease as clean-up and electric restoration efforts proceeded for a sixth day Thursday.
Atlantic City Electric reported that only about 2,100 of its customers were without power, an outage number that dropped by about 9,000 since Tuesday.
Cumberland County officials reported that the number of Vineland Municipal Electric Utility customers without power was down to 3,400. Crews from several electric companies continued power restoration in that heavily storm damaged city. City officials said it could still take several more days to restore power to most of those customers.
The extent of the damage was still being totaled.
Vineland officials set the preliminary damage estimate for public and private property at $100 million. Cumberland County spokesman Troy Ferus said more than 3,000 homes were damaged just in Vineland. The Vineland Hills trailer park on North East Boulevard was devastated, with homes knocked off their foundations and others completely destroyed, he said.
Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein set the number of people clearing downed and damaged trees, repairing electric lines and restoring other services at about 1,000.
“The work continues and we’re making progress every day,” said Cumberland County Freeholder Tony Surace, who chairs the board’s Public Works Committee. “We won’t stop until we get things back to normal. We want to get every road cleared and everyone’s electricity back on as fast as possible.”
County officials warned people to stay away from downed trees and wires.
“Even a telephone wire can be electrically charged,” said Cumberland County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Joseph Sever.
South Jersey Healthcare spokesman Paul Siman said the company’s medical facilities in Vineland and Bridgeton dealt with only a few people who suffered injuries from storm clean-up or the hot weather.
County officials said less than a dozen roads were closed.
Power had been restored to all but about nine intersections where traffic signals stopped functioning because of a lack of electricity. Traffic signals at most of those nine intersections continued to be powered by emergency generators.
Vineland police said they arrested 36-year-old Louis Lozado, of Elmwood Avenue, on Wednesday night after he allegedly stole a generator that powered the traffic signal at the intersection of South Main Road and East Chestnut Avenue. Police said they went to the scene on a tip from local residents and found Lozado carting away the generator on his bicycle.
Lozado was charged with theft, criminal mischief, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal mischief to a traffic signal and possession of burglary tools. He was taken to the Cumberland County jail on bail set at $2,500, police said.
Officials said that three cooling centers remained open in the county. Those centers were at:
- The First Presbyterian Church, 199 N. Second Street, in Millville, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- The Thomas Wallace Middle School at 688 N. Mill Road in Vineland. The center is open around the clock.
- The Fairfield Township Elementary School at 375 Gouldtown-Woodruff Road is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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