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Woman Climbs Over Live Power Lines To Get Into Home In New Jersey

Ridgewood Power Lines

Downed live power lines blocked a home in Ridgewood, N.J., Wednesday night. (Credit: CBS 2)

Superstorm Sandy

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The nor’easter Wednesday night just added to power problems in many areas, including Ridgewood, where power has been out for 10 days and one woman was left dodging live wires just to get into her house.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, for nine days, Jane Worthman-Leva had been literally risking her life to get inside her dark and freezing cold home. Downed, live power lines still littered her block in Ridgewood.

“It’s dangerous,” neighbor Cheryl Gibney said. “We have a bunch of kids running around the neighborhood, walking. We have to get to school, so the kids have to walk up the street. They should have somebody parked right here if this wire is live.”

Everyone who was toughing it out on that stretch of South Irving Street agreed — live wires on a dark road was a disaster waiting to happen.

“We were told by the town it could have 7 to 12,000 volts of electricity,” Gibney said.

While they waited in fear for the road to be cleared, many were staying put, living in the dark.

Worthman-Leva had just her fireplace and her candlelight — no generators.

“It’s exhausting,” she said. “It’s exhausting just to exist.”

But she has refused to leave, and has woken up every morning at 4 a.m. to get to work at a nearby hospital. She said she knows it could be worse, but nearly 10 days of living in such a fashion was trying her patience.

“I have to be grateful that I still have a house and that no one is harmed, because I look at pictures of Staten Island and Long Beach and the shore and it’s a tragedy, it really is. Much tragedy,” Worthman-Leva said. “I know I’m lucky. But I’m freezing and I want some answers.”

Officials from PSE&G said they were doing their best to provide answers. As of Wednesday night, they had restored power to 89 percent of their customers in New Jersey.

PSE&G said caution tape wrapped around a nearby tree should be enough to warn people about the live wires on Irving Street.

But residents here said it was not enough, and they still did not know how long they would be in the dark.

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