Mullica Hill ‘slowly’ rebuilds after last year’s tornado

Residents set up fundraiser for the 39 who lost homes

Nearly a year after a category F3 tornado ripped through South Jersey and caused severe damage in Mullica Hill, rebuilding what was lost has been a slow process.

The recovery is slow with those displaced just in the rebuilding phase now,” said Mayor Lou Manzo, who added that affected homeowners would see rebuilt homes beginning in October. Thirty-nine homes were destroyed. 

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Mullica Hill was one of the hardest-hit towns after the Sept. 1 tornado last year, with several of its zones designated tornado-affected areas. 

“The hardest hit areas are along Marvin and Josephine Lane, Gangemi Lane, Salvatore and Turtle Creek Drive, Clems Run, Winding Way and Timber Lane,” said Manzo. “That was the path, north to south, in Mullica Hill.”

The town was hardly prepared for a tornado of any severity, let alone one as strong as the F3, whose winds reached 150 mph, according to 6 ABC. Such weather extremes are rare in South Jersey, so the damage dealt to Mullica Hill was unexpected and “massive,” Manzo noted.

The tornado was among remnants of Hurricane Ida, which struck the nation’s Northeast. Ida also caused widespread flooding, power outages and damage to nearby trees and outages. All of it happened quickly during a storm of merciless force.

The storm “gravely impacted” 100 other homes besides those lost, said Manzo. Despite the damage, there were no deaths and only two people were injured, said 6 ABC.

After the tornado, residents created a fundraiser to help those who lost their houses.

“The damage was all to privately owned property and residents,” Manzo explained, “so the actual ‘rebuilding’ was dependent on the individual’s homeowners’ insurance, and we have heard of various experiences on that front. 

“For our (township) part, we immediately provided assistance with the cleanup of trees and vegetation and the housing materials being hauled away,” he added. “We also initiated a townwide fundraiser for those who lost their homes that raised approximately $180,000 that was split between the 39 property owners.”

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