Trees and power lines down in wake of Irene

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
Easst hartford - posted Mon., Aug. 29, 2011
Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc announces the declaration of a local civil preparedness emergency in the hours before Hurricane Irene arrived. Photos by Frances Taylor.
Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc announces the declaration of a local civil preparedness emergency in the hours before Hurricane Irene arrived. Photos by Frances Taylor.

Irene was an immense tropical storm when it passed over East Hartford last weekend, knocking down trees and power lines across town and leaving approximately 9,915 residents without power the day after the storm.

Officer Tara Hewins parked her patrol car across Long Hill Road, blocking access to Burnside Avenue, where a large tree had toppled, pulling electrical power lines down along with it. “It’s the same all over town,’’ Hewins said. “Trees and power lines down everywhere.’’

No storm-related injuries or fires were reported, and seven people and five pets were housed at the emergency shelter at East Hartford High School for a period of time, according to a report issued by East Hartford police.  The shelter was closed Sunday afternoon, when fallen trees caused a power outage to that area.

The most damage occurred on Naubuc Avenue and on Forest Street, where downed power lines caused a power outage to much of the area. Low-lying areas such as Labor Field on Burnside Avenue were almost completely flooded.

Connecticut Light and Power issued automated phone calls to many residents notifying them that, while emergency crews were working, it could take up to two days for electrical power to be restored in some areas of town.

In the hours before the storm, the town opened an Emergency Operations Center in the Public Safety Complex on School Street. Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc declared a civil preparedness emergency, which mobilized the town officials at the Operations Command Center to coordinate their efforts. The command center included Fire Chief John Oates, Police Chief Mark Siriois, Emergency Management Officer Daniel Dube, Acting Emergency Services Director Tim Bockus, Deputy Fire Chief William Perez and Deputy Mayor Rich Kehoe.

During a press conference called before the storm hit, Leclerc said the command center would be in continuous operation on rotating shifts. “This will allow me to more effectively operate town government during the storm, and will allow us to more easily request assistance from the state and federal government if needed,’’ she said.

As of Monday, Aug. 29, approximately 44 percent of town residents were still without power.

 


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