Man killed by falling tree during Mother's Day barbecue in Passaic

PASSAIC, New Jersey (WABC) -- A Mother's Day celebration turned tragic when a powerful storm hit a New Jersey neighborhood.

One man died and five others were hurt when a tree crashed down during a backyard barbecue Paulison Ave. in Passaic on Sunday afternoon. Eyewitness News is told the house was full of family friends and church members.

The 28-year-old man who died was right underneath the tree as it fell. His wife was also injured and is now in the hospital. Officials are trying to break the devastating news to their children.

"We're a city in shock, we are trying to unite in prayer of the family. On Mother's Day, a couple of children lost a parent, and their mother is in the hospital," said Passaic Mayor Hector Lora.

Officials believe the victim was a guest at the party. Initial calls in came as a lightning strike, but several neighbors say they never saw lightning nor heard thunder. What they did witness was a flash storm - fierce winds and rain and the crash of the tree.

According to officials, the storm did not last long, but it did claim one life, and chop down trees in several other locations landing on live wires and parked cars.

As for the deadly backyard party, several others were injured as well, but they are expected to survive.

"We're asking everyone to pray with us. Keep the family in prayer. Be aware of conditions around you," adds Mayor Lora.

Lora says city services are now being directed to help the family who suffered the loss of the young father.
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