New London – The city’s emergency shelter at Winthrop Magnet Elementary School is being evacuated because the generator used to power the building is not operating properly, the city’s director of emergency management said this evening.
About 55 people and one dog will be taken to the regional shelter in East Lyme.
“We’re taking a preemptive strike here. It was reported to us by the shelter manager that there was a problem with electrical generator not operating properly,” Reid Burdick said. “We still have some daylight and doing something in the interest in the safety of these people right now is better than waiting until its all dark.”
A trailer with 100 cots is all set to go to East Lyme, Burdick said.
The school is brand new and this is the first time the city has had to use it as an emergency shelter. Burdick said that it’s unclear as to whether the equipment is faulty or if “it’s the way it’s supposed to operate.”
Superintendent of Schools Nicholas A. Fischer said that the generator is not designed to “support the lighting and the operation of the whole school as a shelter for long periods of time.”
“It’s really designed to support the freezer and other kitchen equipment,” he said. “They could stay there, but they’d be there in low light conditions.”
Burdick said that the decision to move the shelter residents was in the “safety of those who have come to us to keep them safe.”