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Chatham Schools to Close All Week

Power could stay out for up to 14 days.

The School District of the Chathams and all public schools will remain closed all week, according to borough officials.

Much of downtown Chatham Borough had its power restored Wednesday, but many roads remain impassable in both the borough and the township.

Ogden Memorial Church has opened as a warming and charging station, and St. Paul's Episcopal Church will open at 6 p.m.

The official Red Cross shelter is at the Mennen Arena in Morris Township.

Chatham Borough Police Chief Philip J. Crosson said JCP&L told him the area could remain without power for 7 to 14 days.

"We're at their mercy. They work in the order they have to work in because they have grids and patterns that have to come out in certain orders," Crosson said.

JCP&L's power grid sustained major damage during Tropical Storm Sandy.

In the meantime, Crosson said, just because power is out in your home does not mean power lines are de-energized.

"The biggest problem we're still having is people out near the wires down. They need to understand that right now every wire that's down, you have to assume that it's live," Crosson said.

He particularly cited Front Street, where multiple utility poles have been uprooted or snapped in two and power lines are on the ground in several locations.

"We found out this morning that those wires were and are still live," Crosson said. "People were walking over there, taking pictures. They need to stay away. ...

"We don't say it to try to scare people. There is the potential that those wires can be fatal," he said.

Even telephone and cable wires could be live if have come into contact with a power line, and Crosson said if wires are mixed up in tree branches, people may not be able to see the entanglement.

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