Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) crews continue their work restoring power to Brookfield residents and businesses, with the outage rate dropping to 58 percent as of 11 p.m. Wednesday, or 4,500 customers without electricity. Power company workers will be focused on Mist Hill Road and Main Drive for most of the day, with four line crews replacing poles and restringing the power lines.
Once crews are finished in the Mist Hill Road area, they will move on to Valley View Road, which is expected to take another full day to restore, according to Don Vernal, CL&P’s representative in Brookfield. From there, workers will move to Pocono Ridge Road (expected to be a half-day job) before continuing with other restoration projects around town.
“The backbones are being done first,” Vernal said Wednesday after a meeting with town emergency officials. “It’s like a tree — get the trunk done first, then smaller branches and smaller branches.”
“We plan on opening blocked roads today and restoring power to as many neighborhoods as possible,” First Selectman Bill Davidson said, adding that there are now 14 line crews total working throughout Brookfield, “a significant increase since yesterday.”
“We expect a rapid increase in electrical restoration during the next few days,” he said.
According to the CL&P website, Brookfield is projected to have 99 percent of power restored by midnight Friday, however that is an optimistic estimate according to Vernal. Most residents will see their power return by Sunday, he said, however there are parts of the town and state that may be out until next Wednesday.
Along with 14 line crews now in town, CL&P also has “six or seven” tree crews helping to clear debris from the roadways and making areas safe for residents and repair workers, Vernal said.
“We are aware of all the outages and problem areas,” Brookfield police Maj. Jay Purcell assured, and the town’s emergency officials are meeting twice daily to assess the situation and keep CL&P up to date.
The areas with the most “clearly significant visible damage” are Mist Hill, Deer Run Road, Flax Hill Road, Mountain Road, Deerfield Road, Meadowbrook Manor and the area surrounding Tower Road, Purcell said, though there are many more acute but significant problem areas throughout town. (North Mountain Road, Powder Horn Hill, Riverford Road and portions of Old Middle are closed to thru-traffic.)
Power was restored along sections of Route 25 and Long Meadow Hill Road Tuesday (Brookfield High School came back online Wednesday morning) as well as southern Federal Road, which brought power back to condominium complexes in the area and elderly housing at Brookfield Commons, which was nearing a critical situation.
The town’s other major center for elderly housing, Brooks Quarry, has a generator for the common room, however the apartments are still out.
According to Ellen Melville, executive director at the Senior Center, all of the town’s elderly residents have been accounted for and “all are fine or have left,” she said Wednesday. “Most of them have left.”
Older residents who need assistance or a ride to one of the town’s shelters should call 203-775-5308 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The town’s emergency crews have responded to 227 calls since Saturday afternoon, including welfare checks, health emergencies, dangerous situations and small fires. Thirty-five volunteers staffed both firehouses through the storm and two or three members have been stationed at each house full-time since.
“We’re fortunate that the police department is really good and we’re really fortunate for the fire department,” Fire Marshal Wayne Gravius said. “It’s not like they’re here for a few hours and that’s it.”
There have been no major injuries reported in connection with the storm, according to Gravius, though there have been numerous minor incidents. He cautioned residents to be especially careful during this time to ensure the safety of themselves and their families.
There have been a few minor fires in town, he said, mostly caused by power coming back in a household and electronic appliances suddenly coming back to life. In one instance, a child had left a light lying on the floor; when power returned, the light turned on, heated the wood floor and began to smolder. Luckily, an adult noticed the smell and moved the light before flames showed.
Gravius warned residents to keep electric stoves clear, store propane tanks outside and keep generators at least 50 feet from the house if possible to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Emergency personnel are responding to every call, no matter how small, Gravius assured, and he urged residents to contact the police department (203-775-2575) with any concerns.
“Years ago this would have been a lot worse — we didn’t have the facilities and people didn’t care,” he said of a year of powerful storms culminating in the worst he’s seen in 40 years. “We’ve never had to open the shelter and have people really use it — we’d have five or six — but now it’s 25 to 35.”
Further Storm Information from the First Selectman:
- Schools are closed through Friday. A decision regarding next Monday will be made and communicated by the School District as soon as possible.
- Library is open.
- High school is open 24/7 as a shelter. Bring blanket, pillow, towel and soap for overnight stay. Food, toilets and showers available. Wireless connection to the Internet is available at the high school.
- Call 203-775-2575 (police department non-emergency number) for questions you may have regarding shelter, elderly assistance, medical needs and similar matters.
- Senior Center is open during regular hours and can be used as a warming center.
- The Town has arranged for bus transportation for Seniors and others that need transit to the Senior Center or to the high school shelter. Call 203-775-5308. Bus service will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Town Hall is open for regular business. Residents can power phones and electronic devices at Town Hall, the Police Department, the Senior Center and the shelter at the high school.
- Potable water is available at both firehouses and the police station, bring your own containers.
- Bottled water is available at the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company on Pocono Road (near Town Hall).
- The Town's residential refuse disposal center will be open Monday through Friday (7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).
- The YMCA is open for showers and toilets. However it is very busy.