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8:25 — For the first time since Monday, more than half the town has power. 52% of CL&P’s customers have been restored, with 5,510 online and 5,167 off. For a list of roads that have some or all power restored, click here.
6:35 — The Rec Center continues operating as a full service shelter. Thursday night 23 people stayed overnight, up from 18 Wednesday night. “We expect that to go up as it gets colder,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Friday afternoon. Last year, hardly any people used the shelter after Storm Irene at the end of August and the first days of September. But after the October snowstorm, Aflred, knocked out power for a week, 30 or 40 people a night were sleeping at the shelter to get out of the cold, he said.
6:20 — People with storm damage that they hope will qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance should register with FEMA as soon as possible, according to First Selectman Rudy Marconi. FEMA can be reached by telephone at 1-800-621-3362, or on the web at www.disasterassistance.gov. Towns become a higher priority with FEMA as more people from them register for assistance. “We’re asking people to register with FEMA. That’ll put us up the list,” Mr. Marconi said Friday.
6:05 — An decision on when schools will reopen will likely come Sunday afternoon. Superintendent Deborah Low is expected to make an announcement then, after consulting with town officials on state of the roads and the clean-up. First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Friday that it’s not just a question of all nine school buildings having power, but of the roads being passable by buses and the roadsides safe for children going to and from bus stops. “A lot of the roads in town will need to be driven and assessed,” he said.
5:45: Sizable sections of town were energized late this afternoon, including much of Ridgebury Road, and roads off it; George Washington Highway and Scodon area; eastern Farmingville, including New Road corridor; Stonehenge Estates; more of Branchville Road. A total of 43% of the town was back online, with 53% off. That’s 4,547 with juice and 6,130 without. Crews are still out working; one told us late this afternoon he is working 16 hour days.
5:35 — Congressman Jim Himes visited Ridgefield Friday afternoon, going to see National Guard troops working on damage with First Selectman Rudy Marconi. Mr. Himes has been touring storm damage around the Fourth Congressional District.
4:53 — The number of roads in town with areas unreachable from either direction by emergency equipment is now down to five, from 20 roads yesterday, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Friday afternoon. Mr. Marconi listed those roads as: Bridle Trail, Flat Rock Drive, Harvey Road and Lincoln Lane. Clearing these is a top priority, he said. There are many more roads — 72, Mr. Marconi said — that are still “blocked” in that there’s a spot where fallen trees or wires prevent a vehicle from passing. But these are not counted as “totally blocked” or unreachable if that blockage point on the road could be reached by coming from the other direction, since all addresses on the street can be gotten to. “We’re keeping close track of that so emergency services know what roads to take,” Mr. Marconi said. Tuesday morning after the storm, some 120 roads were blocked, he said. Clearing work is slow due to the size of the trees that came down. “We only did 15 yesterday, we have 72, that’s five days of clearing,” Mr. Marconi said.
4:30 — The number of work crews is rising, more roads are being opened and power is — slowly — being restored to more areas of Ridgefield, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said in his Friday afternoon press briefing. The number of line crews has gone from 19 Friday morning to 30 Friday afternoon, he said. Also on the job are 18 tree crews and five “patrollers” — scouts who go ahead of the work crews trying to determine what’s wrong and what will be needed to fix it.
3:34 — Fairfield County remains the hardest hit region in Connecticut in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 61% of the total power outages in the state as of 2:30 p.m. Friday were in Fairfield County. There are currently 100,116 Connecticut Light & Power customers in Fairfield County without power, which is 61% of the company’s total statewide. For United Illuminating, there are 64,812 total customers without power, with 60% being in Fairfield County.
3:27 — Gas and heating oil suppliers report there hasn’t been any shortage of fuel. The biggest challenge has been accessing customers with trees and wires down all over town. “When you’re driving around with a vehicle that is filled with propane you have to be especially safe,” said Shane Casey of Casey energy, which supplies heating oil and propane, which many “standby” generators run on. “We did our best to top everybody off before the storm came,” he said. Some customers won’t need refills because their tanks are big enough to get them through the outage. “One customer may have two days worth of propane while another customer might have 10 days,” Mr. Casey said. “Every morning we have to strategize what section of town were going to make deliveries to,” he said. Casey doesn’t store propane or rely on a company in or near Ridgefield for its supply. “We throughput through another company that’s far enough away that they’re not really a competitor,” he said. Heating fuel hasn’t been in high demand, largely because burners need electricity to work, said Andy Montanari Jr. of Montanari Fuel. But they are busy helping customers with power-related heating issues. “For instance,” he said, a customer with a generator might have “an air handler not wired in and they’re not getting heat.” He also said that electronic heating controls can get damaged if there is an electrical surge. “I would highly recommend turning off your hot water, heating system,” until the power comes back on, he said, adding that people should unplug electrical devices, like TVs and computers.
2:51 — Dave Sigworth writes, “My favorite [Sandy story] so far was driving by the Pamby’s gas station yesterday evening and seeing some poor soul using the gas station’s air hose to blow up an air mattress. Now just HOW you blow up an air mattress with a gas-station air hose, I have no idea. (And then how you get it home…)
2:27 — First Selectman Rudy Marconi expressed frustration with CL&P’s response in his latest telephone address and warned residents to prepare to be out of power for some time — to check on neighbors and to plan accordingly as the weather gets colder. There are 19 line crews working on “the main backbone of our local grid” and two line crews working with tree crews to open up blocked roads, he said. “I continue to demand a stronger response from CL&P…” he said. “Their response has been that all available assets are being sent to shoreline communities.” Mr. Marconi urged people to register with FEMA for disaster relief at disasterassistance.gov or 1-800-621-6632. The chief executive of Ridgefield must be getting tired — he added “good night” at the end of his 2 p.m. message.
2:15 — “So glad so see them, it’s the cavalry coming,” Lorraine Trapani of 153 High Ridge said as utility crews worked in front of her home near the intersection of Bryon Avenue. “When that tree fell,” she said with a nod across the street to a home near the Knights of Columbus building, “I saw the transformer blow and the power lines were arcing all over in the street.” She and all her neighbors called 911. People across the street had smoke in the basement. “The fire trucks arrived but they couldn’t get to the people because the lines were arcing. One of the reasons I’m raking my leaves is leaves caught fire.”
2:03 — A task force of four bucket trucks has started work on High Ridge, which is closed from Catoonah Street south to the intersection with King Lane and Peaceable Street. There are new or repaired utility poles along that stretch, and the line crews are there to put the wires back up. The dangerous looking ‘leaner’ pole that was held up by the wires near Griffith Lane has been taken care of. The trucks are from Miller Construction of Vincennes, Ind., and the crews include men from Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois.
12:45 — Suddenly the total changes: 34% online. That’s 3,536 CL&P customers with power, 7,139 without. That probably reflects the recent activation of some customers on Barry Avenue, High Ridge, and Ivy Hill.
12:16 p.m. — 71% of Ridgefield now without power, CL&P reports.
11:17 — Major line work happening on lower Branchville Road. Traffic is detouring over Old Branchville.
9 a.m. — Convoys of trucks have been arriving in town — one, a least a half dozen crews, was seen headed out toward West Mountain. Many state highway trucks working state roads.
8:45 — Traffic lights in center are working.
6 a.m. — There is a “boil water advisory” for those who are on Aquarion Water Company wells at the Ridgefield Lakes only. This information comes from State Health Department website. (There had been no announcement of this from the first selectman, from the town health department, or from Aquarion, the water company that provides most of Ridgefield’s ‘public’ water.) The advisory does not mean the water IS unsafe, but that it MAY be. The State Health Dept. often issues such advisories after major storms. Small well systems do not have the safeguards of major water supplies, such as Aquarion’s reservoir service, which most Ridgefielders on ‘public’ water have. State Health Dept says: To disinfect water, use ONE of the following methods: 1. Boil at a rolling boil for one minute (make sure water is clear of floating pieces before boiling); OR, 2. add 8 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops per gallon for cloudy water — do not use bleach that has perfumes or ingredients other than sodium hypochlorite as it may be toxic; OR, 3. Add water purification tablets according to directions on the package. Mix completely and let water stand 30 minutes before using. Click here for more information.
5:30 a.m. — Good morning. At 5 o’clock, the power restoration was at 32%, the same as last night, and 8% less than Thursday morning, when it was 40%. A total of 3,366 customers have power; 7,309 don’t. One explanation for the reduction is that working circuits were shut down to repair side circuits. Another may be that some circuits that were energized were found to be unsafe or unstable. There were 19 line crews working in town Thursday, along a greater number of tree crews and 22 national guardsmen. They and more workers are expected today. Many of yesterday’s crews did not get out until early afternoon. “This isn’t going to be fixed tomorrow, or Saturday,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said last night. “There’s a tremendous amount of work. It’s going to take a while.”