National Guard Sent To Storm-Ravaged Branford, East Haven


    BRANFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday sent 100 personnel from the National Guard to Branford and East Haven after severe storms ripped through the region.

    Lamont said Branford was hit hardest. East Haven and North Haven saw significant damage, with downed trees and power lines.

    Thunderstorms hit Branford and wind gusts reportedly hit 90 mph. Eversource reported virtually the entire town was without power around 4:30 p.m.

    Lamont said later that 15,000 of Branford’s 16,500 Eversource customers are tied to one substation and if that is put back online, many will regain power. But added he can’t make promises for Eversource.

    Branford police Capt. David Galdenzi told Patch via text messages that, « More streets closed now than open and trees are down everywhere. »

    The Branford Fire Department posted to Facebook a reminder to steer clear of downed wires, which may be live.

    Galdenzi said people should, « Stay in your house or office and off roadways if possible to allow for medical and emergency crews. »

    In East Haven, Mayor Joe Carfora asked people to stay safe, and home, if possible.

    East Haven fire Chief Matt Marcarelli told Patch that there were « folks trapped in cars, under trees, and unable to get out of their homes. »

    Marcarelli said the National Guard will provide « logistical support and heavy equipment as well as urban search and rescue teams to assist with checking homes in the area, beyond what we may be able to handle. »

    Marcarelli said that there have been no serious injures reported as of 9 p.m., but that getting to medical emergencies has been difficult at best for first responders with so many trees, limbs and wires down. And he said that East Haven, Branford and nearby towns who usually rely on each other for mutual aid were all in the same boat.

    « All other towns in the area were taxed, » he said. « Towns that we use for mutual aid are in the same predicament. »

    East Haven police Capt. Joseph M. Murgo said trees are down all over town with some into houses.

    « We are urging everyone to stay off the roads while emergency crews are making the roads safe again, » he said, adding people should report hazardous conditions to police and stay away from downed power lines. « And be sure to check on loved ones. »

    Murgo said East Haven police, fire, rescue and public works crews would be working through the night.

    Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross told Patch that while there « were reports of tornadic activity a few hours ago from Hamden and North Haven to Branford… meteorological experts will have to confirm that. We have crews working where it is safe to do so, and we’re moving additional crews into the harder hit areas. »

    There was a report of a tornado at around 4 p.m. in North Haven and Branford. Galdenzi said he could not confirm a tornado went through town.

    Gross said that as Eversource was « dealing with storm damage, primarily in the western part of the state, due to downed trees and some lightning strikes, » the tornado reports came in. Like firefighters, Gross reminded people to « please stay away from any downed lines – always assume they are live and energized. If you see a downed line, call 911. »

    He said Eversource « line and tree crews will stay on the job as long as it takes to get everyone’s power back on. »

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