PLEASANTVILLE — Anwaar Garrett was meditating in his Homestead Apart-Hotel apartment about 4:15 a.m. Saturday when he heard a loud bang outside.
His first thought was that it was a gunshot. Then his lights went out.
“I said, ‘Yeah, something happened on the highway,’” the 71-year-old said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”
Early Saturday morning, a number of tenants were woken up by the sound of a vehicle crashing into the utility pole outside the Black Horse Pike hotel. The pole was severed at the base, tangling wires and leaving at least 70 families without power.
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Police did not respond to requests for more information about the crash Saturday.
The hotel was no longer on Atlantic City Electric’s outage map as of 6 p.m.
Lisa Sodano, president of the organization Loving Families in Need Matter, was staying overnight in preparation for a Mother’s Day food giveaway. One of the tenants, knowing Sodano’s background in the medical field, knocked on her door to tell her a man had just crashed and needed help. Sodano walked outside and saw the road and adjacent parking lot covered in glass. Barefoot, she quickly made her way to the car and pulled the man out, she said.
As she ran up to the car, she also noticed a fire starting.
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“He had no blood, nothing,” Sodano said. “He just had vomit on him and he was shaken up. ... It’s sad, but we’re lucky because he could have hit the pole and wiped out all these cars.”
The original estimate was at least three days until the power returned, which worried Sodano because of the financial situation of many of the tenants. Her organization has done work with them in the past, and she said at least 76 families at the Homestead rely on services like food stamps. Having their food spoil due an outage that long could have resulted in a serious food crisis.
“My freezer’s full” Garrett said. “I eat a lot of fish and vegetables, so I’m gonna end up having to give that away.”
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