Westport Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury said tonight that power is slowly returning to Westport with less than 20 percent of the town’s more than 12,000 Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) customers still off the grid.
While good news for some, it is sure to draw a different kind of “boo” this Halloween night from those still in the dark, as well as the town’s children who were advised by town officials not to trick or treat in the wake of Saturday’s nor’easter that left downed wires and felled branches.
Kingsbury noted that while outages were spotty throughout town, homes along the shoreline fared much better due to a warmer climate compared to those north of the Merritt Parkway where many leafy branches had snapped under the weight of snow.
“We recently had power restored to the Redcoat Road and Hermit Lane area,” he said.
Spruce Home & Garden will open at 90 Post Road East, the historic old Town Hall building, with a preview party on Nov.10 according to Steven Wilburn, a managing director of the new business.
A preview party is set for Nov. 10 at the new business. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wilburn, a resident of Sherman, said the Westport store will be its third location. He said the first Spruce store opened in New Milford about one year ago after which another opened in West Hartford.
“We’ve chosen Westport for an expansion location because it’s the hub for shopping in lower Fairfield County and it pulls from other local towns,” he said. “It’s like a shopping center without a roof.”
Wilburn said the store will carry a wide range of accessories including fiberglass pots and urns for planting as well as chandeliers and furniture. He said that in addition to its 2,450 square feet, the business seeks approval for outdoor displays as well.
President Obama, acting on a request by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, has declared an emergency in Connecticut because of Saturday’s storm.
He ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response to the Halloween eve storm.
Under the declaration, certain storm-related expenses by the state and municipalities will be eligible for federal reimbursement at 75 percent.
Malloy told municipal leaders in conference calls over the weekend that officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were already in the state’s emergency operations center in Hartford in anticipation of the declaration.
Trick or treaters were out in force in Westport neighborhoods late today despite town officials urging that the Halloween rite be postponed until Saturday because of potential dangers caused by downed trees or power lines. This was the scene in the busy Compo Beach area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Westport Firefighter Rich Calabria today cordons off Highwood Road, near Cavalry Road, from No. 7 to No. 20 after responding to a call that a large tree fell across power lines blocking the street which has been without power since Saturday. Neighbor Jackquie Marumoto of nearby Highwood Lane said she saw the town’s new emergency incident map on WestportNow which led her to notify authorities. She said she was surprised no one apparently had called in the downed tree earlier. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Town officials and local emergency management personnel determined it would not be safe for trick or treat activities tonight, and urge parents and children to postpone trick or treating until Saturday, November 5.
There are significant safety risks, according to a press release from the Westport Fire Department, because wires remain down and there are hundreds of damaged trees and downed branches throughout Westport.
“The possibility of falling tree limbs, slippery surface conditions, and electrocution hazards remain very real throughout town, and the situation is as bad or worse than the recent damage caused by tropical storm Irene,” according to the Fire Department.
First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today the Town of Westport is making every effort to restore power to residents, but the enormity of the outages statewide is hampering Connecticut Light & Power Company’s ability to respond.
“Just like Irene, we fared a bit better than many other communities in the storm, but the severity and extent of the outages statewide are hampering CL&P’s ability to rapidly address our relatively limited outages,” he said.
“We are making every effort to restore power to residents but it could be days or more before everyone is back. CL&P is warning it could be a week or more to restore the state.”
Joseloff said most of Westport’s streets are open and passable with crews still working to clear remaining roadways.