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Congressman Larson: 'It Looks Like a War Zone'

Damage from Winter Storm Alfred is equally spread throughout the town.

Congressman John Larson was with town officials in West Hartford Monday morning for a firsthand look at the devastation caused by Winter Storm Alfred.

Senator Richard Blumenthal also visited the West Hartford EOC Monday for an update and briefing.

“It looks like a war zone,” said Larson, who was given a tour of the town by Mayor Scott Slifka and Captain Gove of the West Hartford Police department.

Slifka agreed. “Devastation is the word that comes to mind. This is the first time that all the predictions came through, and the descriptions are not exaggerations; it looks like a war zone on every block.”

Slifka said, “We meandered – literally how you have to get through – down Farmington Avenue, through the Morley area, and near Saint Joseph College. That trip took over an hour because of detours.”

Slifka believes the coordination with CL&P is improving. “We have a contact person, if not information updates. They are putting down our priority areas, but we don’t know when the power is going to be back on.”

Larson was astounded at the devastation throughout his district. “The amount of damage from trees falling across wires is just incredible. This is a 100-year event; no one I have talked to remembers anything like this.”

The combination of last year’s wet winter, the incredible amount of rain this spring and summer, and Irene, kept the trees greener later into the fall, leading to this “perfect storm.”

The mayor announced late Monday morning that trick-or-treating would be delayed, at least until Saturday. He does not think many are disappointed. “I think people are relieved. We had more calls about that than shelters today.”

“Everything we are hearing suggests that this will not be cleaned up by Friday. We will monitor the situation and will probably have an announcement sometime on Friday,” Slifka said.

At the Emergency Operations Center, Director of Public Works John Phillips reported that CL&P has a representative driving around in a truck with a public works employee, surveying the problem areas.

“We have only one line crew right now, working on Asylum. Crews from AT&T are also working in town,” Phillips said.

Neither Phillips nor Slifka were aware of any neighborhoods coming back on line today.

“The Asylum/Steele Road area is the biggest bottleneck for road closures in town. It will be open for tomorrow’s commute.”

Phillips said that the damage is spread throughout town, not concentrated in any one area. “This is a well-balanced storm – no one area harder hit than another,” he said.

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