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Crews work to restore power after widespread outages in Greenwich
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March 3, 2018

GREENWICH — Crews from the town and Eversource were hard at work Saturday clearing roads and restoring electricity to thousands in Greenwich who were left in the dark by the heavy rain and sustained, powerful wind gusts that tore through town on Friday.

But many in town and in the state will likely remain without electricity until Sunday night, a spokesman for the power company said.

“We remain all hands on deck,” said Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross, adding that more crews had been brought in from out of state to help with the recovery. “The vast majority of our customers throughout the state will have their power restored by 9 p.m. on Sunday.”

Greenwich was the hardest hit town in the state, the only one reporting household outages in the 5,000- to-10,000 range after the winter nor’easter rolled through.

From one side of Greenwich to the other, winds toppled branches and trees, which took power lines down with them.

More than 150 sites had documented problems throughout town, Town Emergency Management Director Dan Warzoha said. He compared the wreckage to the March 2010 windstorm that caused damage all over town and forced school closures for a week because of closed roads. School officials could not be reach Saturday to say whether classes might be affected this week.

The cleanup process will be extensive, Warzoha said.

“It’s going to take a good part of next week,” he said. “I have no idea when we will see full power restoration. I wouldn’t want to put a timeline or a number on that. The damage is very varied across town.”

By mid-afternoon Saturday, the number of Greenwich customers without power had been reduced to below 6,000, but that still represented about 20 percent of the town. The town’s Emergency Operations Center remained partially activated through Saturday to respond as needed.

Damage was “evenly paced” across town, Warzoha said, and covered all parts of Greenwich with many major roads closed in town on Friday and not reopened until Saturday.

“Trees are the big problem,” he said. “They took down many poles and knocked out transformers.”

Flooding was also a concern, with Greenwich Point closed Saturday as high tide brought water in. The town’s Parks and Recreation Department will determine when to reopen the beach to public access.

The point, as usual, was hit hard. The storm ripped an industrial crane off its barge in Greenwich Cove, causing the vessel to sink. The private company that owns the barge was working to remove it on Saturday, Warzoha said.

Elsewhere in town, firefighters battled a blaze that began in the basement of a home on Bible Street on Friday night. The house was unoccupied at the time.

The most tragic consequence occurred on the Merritt Parkway on Friday near Exit 33 at the Greenwich-Stamford line. New Jersey resident Jonathan Rodriguez-Melendez, 25, was killed by a falling tree that struck the car he was driving.

Warzoha said the storm is not believed to have caused any injuries in town.

There is 24-hour help available at the Greenwich Public Safety Complex on Havemeyer Place off Greenwich Avenue. Residents can come in to recharge electronic devices in the lobby and warm up if there is no heat in their homes.

Greenwich Library will also be available from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday for people who need to recharge their devices.

Gross said the power outages were spread throughout town. One area feeling the effects Saturday was Old Greenwich, where falling trees caused major damage.

Most of the businesses along Sound Beach Avenue were closed Saturday, including Garden Catering, Chilly Bear, Sweet Pea’s Baking Company, Upper Crust Bagel and CVS. And one that was open was The Rummage Room, which held its annual “bag sale” to clear out its winter merchandise despite not having any power.

With no power, the cash register had to be kept open with a piece of tape, but there was still a good turnout of customers.

“People are shopping in the dark with their jackets on,” store volunteer Leanne Meyer said. “We’re doing old school today and operating it manually.”

Meyer said the power went out around 4 p.m. Friday for most of Old Greenwich, including her home.

“It’s pretty bad at home,” she said. “I have no heat and my dog is freezing. I’m running a generator though.”

While places such as Feinsod Hardware Co. had a generator to stay open, others like Sound Beach Pizza and its next door neighbor Panache Hair Salon never lost power.

“We feel very fortunate,” Panache’s owner Dora Faugno said. “We lost Internet and phone, and we’ve been trying to let our customers know we’re open but we’ve been fine. I feel so bad for everyone else.”

The Old Greenwich Social Club remained open and with power throughout the storm. But out front, a large tree fell and crushed two cars in the parking lot. Club owner Jed Simon said it happened during Friday’s dinner rush around 6:30 p.m., but no one was hurt.

People wandered around Sound Beach Avenue looking for anything that was open on Saturday. Kelly Phillips of Old Greenwich walked with her daughter Madline, 11, son Tyler, 8, and family friend Kinsey Shockley, 11.

“It’s hard because we can’t really go anywhere,” Madeline Phillips said. She and Shockley had been hoping to go to a dance at Eastern Middle School on Friday but couldn’t once the storm forced the cancellation of all after-school activities.

Kelly Phillips said the family was hopeful power would be restored soon.

“We’ve been OK, but it’s concerning because we know a lot of people lost power,” Phillips said. “It was a scary storm, and we have neighbors who don’t have a generator and they’re having a tough time.” https://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Crews-work-to-restore-power-after-widespread-12725678.php

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