Long gas lines and emergency shelters the result of October storm

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Mon., Nov. 7, 2011
Drivers waited in long lines for gas following the pre-Halloween snow storm. Photos by Frances Taylor.
Drivers waited in long lines for gas following the pre-Halloween snow storm. Photos by Frances Taylor.

With 97 percent of East Hartford residents without power for days following an unprecedented  pre-Halloween snow storm, many turned to emergency services for help. Dozens of cars lined Silver Lane, where the few working gas stations were located. East Hartford schools were closed for the week.

About 100 people came to East Hartford town hall to seek shelter the first night after the storm dropped 3 to 6 inches of heavy, wet snow that snapped trees and took down power lines. Town hall filled with cots on each floor for those whose homes were too cold to remain there.

Emergency volunteer Paul Bellinger said he and  several other volunteers cooked a pancake breakfast for the town hall guests with the help of a mobile canteen from the Salvation Army that was stationed in the parking lot. “We've been here for about 12 hours,'' Bellinger said. “This is much worse than hurricane Irene. People are very grateful for what we are doing.''

Elizabeth Lopez came to town hall with her daughter, granddaughter and her elderly mother to escape the cold at home overnight. “Trees are down all around, and there's no heat,'' Lopez said. “Neighbors are helping each other, but its going to take a long time to get things back to normal.''

Janet Sheppard, with her granddaughter Trinity, came to town hall to warm up after spending a cold night at home. “I needed to save some of the wood we have,'' Sheppard said.

Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Tim Bockus, interim public works director and CERT's Daniel Dube coordinated relief activities at the Public Safety complex emergency headquarters, and participated in a statewide conference call with Gov. Dannell Malloy.  At that time, there were more than 200 locations in East Hartford where power lines were down, and at least 17,000 people were without power.

Doug Fisher, the East Hartford liaison for Connecticut Light and Power, said this storm differed from Irene in terms of its impact on electrical power. “Its very different – in this case, the transmission lines have also been affected,'' Fisher said, referring to the tall towers that carry power from sub-stations to transformers. “It takes longer to repair those kinds of lines, which can delay when power will be restored.''


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