Looking Back: Trade Center work, film on Vietnam

“I’ve never seen anything with that high, powerful damage,” remarked Ridgefield resident Ennala Ramabhushanam in the March 11, 1993, Ridgefield Press.

Ramabhushanam, a manager and structural engineer for the Port Authority, had spent the past two weeks working on repairs to the World Trade Center after an explosion in a parking garage Feb. 26.

“Because I am a structural engineer and a manager … I have to make structural assessments of what was done in this blast,” he told the newspaper. “My job is to secure the building.”

Ramabhushanam’s repair work began just a few hours after a bomb exploded in the second level of a multi-level basement under the north World Trade Center tower.

His first assessment was determining the immediate needs of the World Trade Center’s underpinnings.

“We had to walk around all the floors that were damaged in the parking garage,” he said. “We had to see what was damaged.”

Also on the front page that week was a story about a $48.8-million town and school budget that would require a tax increase of 4.63%.

The Press reported the tax rate would go from 20.93 mills in the current 1992-93 budget to 21.90 mills under the proposed 1993-94 budget.

“The bottom line is it’s less than a mill increase,” First Selectman Sue Manning said.

50 years ago

Father carries child onto roof as flames race through house.

That was top headline in the March 7, 1968, Ridgefield Press. It was the second major house fire within a week, the newspaper reported.

Joseph Egan of Twixt Hills carried his 6-year-old daughter, Lisa, through an upstairs window to safety while his wife and daughters, Vanessa, 7, and Sheelah, 4, watched outside as fire raced through the house.

“Mr. and Mrs. Egan had brought two of their daughters to safety, but when Mr. Egan returned upstairs to get Lisa...flames cut off the stairway and he was forced to take the child out through a window, balance her on a ledge, lower her to her mother, who was waiting below, and then climb down himself,” the paper stated.

The fire started in the Egans’ kitchen shortly after 10 p.m. The cause?

“A pan of cooking oil bubbled over, caught fire and soon spread flames through the kitchen.”

Also on that week’s front page was a story about Robert Elfstrom, a TV director who was finishing a documentary about Vietnam.

The Old Branchville Road resident spent five weeks in the war zone making his film, which was set to air that Sunday.

The Press said Elfstrom’s work looked at the war with “melancholy concern.”

“Anyone who has seen the war and seen the killing can, in my opinion, have no other view than to be anti-war,” the documentarian told The Press. “The degree of my anti-war feeling increased 100 percent between the time I arrived in Vietnam and when I left.”