Towns dealing with aftermath, fires, flooding

Neighbors stop to view a fallen tree on Montauk Ave. in New London Tuesday, Oct 30.
Neighbors stop to view a fallen tree on Montauk Ave. in New London Tuesday, Oct 30. Sean D. Elliot/The Day

As flood waters from Hurricane Sandy begin to recede, local and state police are reporting major problems as many roadways are still blocked by downed trees and wires.

No serious injuries have been reported at this time, but many authorities said they are waiting for the sun to rise to go out and inspect their communities to make certain.

Connecticut Light & Power is reporting that 469,777 customers are without power, including 7,378 in Waterford, 6,109 in New London and 7,570 in Stonington.

In Old Saybrook, flood waters prevented firefighters from battling a blaze at Chalker Beach.

Old Saybrook Fire Chief J.T. Dunn said two homes have been destroyed by the fire. Fire crews were unable to extinguish the fire as the homes were in an area flooded by several feet of water.

Dunn said a team of firefighters in water rescue suits rode on a retired army deuce and a half truck converted into a brush fire truck in an attempt to remove anyone who may have ignored the mandatory evacuation order.

The vehicle lost many of its electrical systems traveling down Chalker Beach Road and could not continue to the fire.

Dunn said Tuesday evening that he did not believe that the two homes on Chalker Beach were occupied at the time of the fire. He said he has reached the owner of one home and that the owner said it was "truly a second home." The second home, Dunn said, was slated for demolition because of damage it sustained during Hurricane Irene last year.

Dunn also reported that around 7:30 p.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a telephone pole fire. When they arrived, a neighbor mentioned that she had seen an elderly man wading in the tidal flood water of the Connecticut River near his apartment.

Firefighter Bruce Watford put on a life jacket and had a lifeline secured to his person when he waded through the water. He forced his way into the building and found the elderly man in a second floor apartment.

Dunn said Watford put a life jacket on the man and secured a life line on him and brought him back to safety.

The elderly man was transported to an area hospital for evaluation.

Street closures and winter parking rules/parking ban is still in effect for New London. The damage throughout the City is still being assessed by emergency personnel and work crews.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio is directing people to leave the streets in the southern end of the city so that public works and emergency response crews can remove debris left from Hurricane Sandy.

Zak Leavy, the mayor's executive assistant, said the city crews and others from Connecticut Light & Power are having a hard time clearing the debris and restoring power because of the people who are on Montauk, Ocean and Pequot Avenues.

As of 11:40 this morning, CL&P was reporting 6,087 power outages in the city. About 44 percent of the utility company's customers in the city were without power.

This morning a steady stream of cars came down Montauk Avenue and Lower Boulevard. Many people parked and continued on foot to see the damage and debris left by the storm. Sand and other debris from various beaches had washed up on to Pequot Avenue.

He said waterfront homes appear to have maintained their structural integrity.

Finizio said Mott Avenue, Mott Court, Elliot Avenue and Bentley Avenue are fully flooded and homes are not accessible.

He said the sea wall along Pequot Avenue in front of Guthrie Place and Jerome Road has held.

Osprey Beach has been completely destroyed and he said he expects significant erosion at Ocean Beach. Read more about damage at Osprey Beach and on Pequot Ave. here.

The dispatch center in Ledyard had two pages full of closed roadways. Most flooding has since receded.

Some roadways closed in Ledyard are: Iron Street, a portion of Route 214, Church Hill, Long Cove Road, Spicer Hill Road, Colonel Ledyard Highway, Sandy Hollow Road, Military Highway at Brown's Crossing Road and Military Highway at Maple Corner Road.

East Lyme experienced flooding all along neighborhoods by the water. Main Street was flooded, as well as the Pine Grove neighborhood. Pine Grove Road has now opened with one lane this morning and has town crews working on it, according to messages on its Public Safety Facebook page.

The Town urged residents to avoid beach areas, as the roads are deteriorating and unsafe, according to the page.

The message stated that Atlantic Street in Crescent Beach is "falling apart."

Public Safety also told residents to not touch downed trees and wait for crews and CL&P, since there is a likelihood that power lines could be entangled in the trees and branches, the messages said.

The page also stated that 96 percent of residents are without power.

Stop and Shop, Stop and Shop Gas Station, Burger King, Corey's Sunoco, Mobile, Flanders Bakery, CVS at Flanders Four Corners are among the establishments open this morning.

East Lyme Middle School and High School are open for residents needing showers. Residents can charge electronics at the East Lyme Fire Marshal's office, East Lyme Middle School, East Lyme Police Department, Flanders Fire Department, and Niantic Fire Departments on Grand Street and West Main Street, stated the page.

The Emergency Operations Center can answer residents' questions at 860-739-4434, 860-739-4435 and 860-739-2420.

Residents can find information on East Lyme's Public Safety Facebook page.

Montville did not experience any major flooding. The town has numerous closed roads, including Fitch Hill Road at Route 32 and Fire Street in Oakdale.

Groton Town and Stonington police are still contending with flooding and said they have numerous roads in towns that are closed. Officials are reporting that 94 percent of Stonington residents are without power. Read more on Stonington here.

Waterford said it did not experience any major issues with flooding. Crystal Mall is open regular business hours today.

Groton City is reporting that small neighborhoods by the shore also experienced flooding but that waters are starting to recede. Shennecossett Road is closed because of downed tree. Read more on Groton here.

Norwich is also reporting numerous downed trees and wires. Vergason Avenue at West Town Street is closed because of a downed tree.

Police said that a tree fell on a home in the area of 43 Corning Road. No injuries were reported.

About 3,300 Norwich Public Utilities customers remained without power at 10 a.m. today, and mutual aid crews from utilities in Massachusetts have arrived in Norwich to assist with storm recovery.

NPU spokesman Michael Hughes said Norwich will have triple the number of line crews working today with the out-of-state assistance.

The Norwich emergency shelter at Kelly Middle School will close at noon today. The few remaining residents needing assistance will receive vouchers from the local Red Cross to stay in motels temporarily, Norwich Emergency Management Director Gene Arters said.

NPU General Manager John Bilda said crews will concentrate on restoring the largest blocks of customers first, and smaller outages in the Wightman Road, Mediterranean Lane, Hunters Avenue, Germania Street and problems associated with specific transformers likely will not be restored until Wednesday.

Hughes urged NPU customers to check progress and pose questions through the utility's social media on Facebook and Twitter. Officials will respond quickly to those inquiries, freeing phone lines for emergency calls.

In Old Lyme, downed trees and power lines have blocked many roads and 84 percent of houses did not have power as of 10 p.m. Monday, according to a press release the Town issued Monday night.

Blocked roads included: Rogers Lake Trail, Saunders Hollow Road, Boston Post Road at many locations, Sill Lane, Lyme Street, Shore Road, Flat Rock Hill Road, Mile Creek Road, McCurdy Road, Buttonball Road and Brown's Lane, the release stated.

The Town also reported that tidal water flooded seaside roads, such as Hartford and Swan Avenues up to Bocce Lane, West End Avenue up to the tennis courts and the lower end of Ferry Road at the DEP. McCurdy Road was flooded at the Duck River Bridge and Mile Creek was flooded at the Black Hall River Bridge at high tide, according to the release.

The Town said this is only a "preliminary assessment" and the town's Emergency Operations Center will release updated information as it becomes available.

The Town said residents should report power outages to CL&P at 800-286-2000 or WWW.CL-P.COM.

The Connecticut Light & Power map still shows 95 percent of Preston without power, but First Selectman Robert Congdon said the number likely is much lower than that at this time.

He said town crews have identified 21 "trouble spots" in town where either roads are closed or power lines are down. Poquetanuck Cove at Route 2A flooded Monday evening, but surprisingly the water receded a bit by the 10 p.m. high tide because of shifting winds.

No one stayed overnight at the Preston Plains Middle School shelter. The shelter will open at noon today for people to take showers and charge electronic devices.

Town schools are closed today, and whether they reopen Wednesday will depend on the number of continuing power outages and road closures, Congdon said.

HOSPITALS

The William W. Backus Hospital's main campus is open. Due to storm planning, the hospital is fully staffed to take care of patients. However, due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, here is the status of the Backus Health System's offsite locations:

• Backus Business and Technology Center – open

• Backus Home Health Care – open

• Backus Infectious Disease/STD Clinics – open at noon

• Backus Outpatient Care Center – closed

• Backus Pain Management Center – open at noon

• Backus Physician Services – Case Street – open at noon

• Backus Physician Services/Plastics – Medical Office Building – open at noon

• Backus Physician Services/Surgical Associates of Norwich – Medical Office Building – open at noon

• Colchester Backus Health Center – closed

• Ledyard Backus Health Center – closed

• Montville Backus Health Center – closed

• Plainfield Backus Emergency Care Center – open

• Plainfield Backus Health Center – open at noon

• North Stonington Backus Health Center – open at noon

STATE AGENCIES

All Department of Motor Vehicles offices are closed today because of Hurricane Sandy. The agency has also canceled all of its administrative hearings scheduled for today. All emissions testing also has been halted statewide for the duration of the storm.

Consult later in the week ctemissions.com or call DMV at 860-263-5700 for further information.

People with a scheduled hearing for October 29 or today should later in the week call the DMV administrative hearings unit to set up a new date. The number to call is (860) 263-5203.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has ordered that all expiration dates and periods of validity for motor vehicle registrations, licenses, permits, certificates and other forms of credentials issued by or on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles be immediately extended until further notice due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Connecticut. Motor vehicle deadlines and expiration dates will be extended to a date that has yet to be determined.

A sailboat came loose off its mooring during Hurricane Sandy and drifted into a dock behind the Harbor Club condominiums on Pequot Avenue in New London.
A sailboat came loose off its mooring during Hurricane Sandy and drifted into a dock behind the Harbor Club condominiums on Pequot Avenue in New London. Julianne Hanckel/The Day
A home on Chalker Beach is destroyed by a fire. Firefighters could not reach the dwelling because it was surrounded by flood waters.
A home on Chalker Beach is destroyed by a fire. Firefighters could not reach the dwelling because it was surrounded by flood waters. Courtesy of Old Saybrook Fire Chief JT Dunn
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