As a sudden storm blew through one New Jersey community, snapping trees and damaging homes and cars, one family says a statue of the Virgin Mary spared their home and perhaps even their lives.
When the storm hit Dover Sunday night, it wreaked havoc quickly, knocking down trees and flooding the streets.
But James Janone's home was spared when a giant tree was toppled in its front yard. It hit only power lines on its way down.
At the base of the tree where it snapped sits the statue of the Virgin Mary, which was also left undamaged.
"It saved my life, maybe," said James Janone, who lives in the house.
"It's amazing," said an electrical contractor who only gave his first name, Mike. "That tree could have fell any which way, but it fell to the righthand side and missed the whole Virgin Mary."
Some neighbors gathered to gawk at what they said was a miracle Sunday night. The holy figurine was surrounded by twisted bark but doesn't have a single scratch on it.
"It's a miracle," said neighbor Ed Soto.
Soto said he placed the statue there five years ago to help a friend trying to beat a drug habit.
"If it would have fallen any other way, it would have destroyed that house," he said.
Other neighbors were skeptical about calling it a miracle, but were thankful that they were spared damage or injuries.
"We were just lucky at that point that the wind was going thay way," said Jeff and Patti Taylor. "There's somebody watching over us."
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