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Showers, Shelters, Power, Gas Lines are Top Concerns

Emergency Operations Center held a briefing Monday to share information with all departments.

Representatives from the , , , and elected officials met Monday afternoon at the Emergency Operations Center for an briefing on cleanup efforts from the aftermath of Winter Storm Alfred.

CL&P is in town and the good news is that there is a good possibility that we will have Conard up tonight so that we can use it as a shelter,” said Interim Fire Chief Gary Allyn, head of the Emergency Operations Center. Further information will be reported on Tuesday.

According to Allyn, power in the town is still 90 percent out, and crews are working on the Asylum Road area right now. That area is the only major artery in town that is not passable right now, but it will be cleared in time for Tuesday morning’s commute.

Director of Human and Leisure Services Jim Capodiece provided an updated status on the town’s emergency shelter. “We anticipate 100-125 or more tonight at the shelter,” he said.

Capodiece said the town also has plans to open the at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The warming center at the is staying open until 8 p.m. Monday. "Those who need a shelter from the north end will be transported to the Elmwood Community Center if they have no other way of getting there," he said.

Director of Public Works John Phillips reported that “Priorities have been to get our arterial roads open, and that should be 90 percent done today.” Phillips was hoping to get a light plant to allow crews to work after dark.

Phillips said that CL&P’s assigned representative, Watson Collins, was riding with a public works employee today surveying the damage. However, no estimates are available with a timeframe for power restoration, which is an ongoing a source of frustration for everyone in West Hartford. The crew working in the Asylum Road/Steele Road area is just tying up the lines right now to get them out of the way, and not yet repairing anything.

According to Allyn, CL&P is beginning its power restoration efforts at the substations. “Those who are on those feed lines are going to get power back first,” he said.

Phillips said that crews from public works are going street-by-street, noting lines that are down. The debris damage is evenly spread, he said.

Phillips also advised that trash collection will resume on Tuesday, and has been delayed just one day.

Community Services Department Director Rob Rowlson reported that the management team has asked stores to stay open as late as they can so people can have a places to go for warmth and entertainment.

Although the Bishop’s Corner Library has been open, the Noah Webster library cannot be opened because of an unidentified power problem there.

For those who need a place to get cleaned up, “ has showers available for use by the public. Those using it have to bring their own towels. It’s a great community effort on their part,” Rowlson said.

Town Manager Ron Van Winkle wants to make sure that residents know that if they have a gas water heater, there is hot water. “You just need to let it run for a while, but it will heat up,” he said.

Allyn said, “[The fire department] is starting to get water calls about basements because pumps are not running. We are trying to stay available for the emergency calls. Once the power starts to come back up will reevaluate the basement pumping operation.”

There has been some concern about gasoline stations running out of gas, but although lines are long, deliveries are continuing to be made. Some stations are out of power, and others have run out of gas, according to Captain Melanson of the West Hartford police department traffic division.

Despite difficult road conditions and lack of power to many traffic lights, Melanson reports that, "There has not been an uptick in emergencies," as the town works to recover from the storm.

The Emergency Operations Center will hold another briefing on Tuesday morning.

“We’re in bad shape, but not nearly as bad as other communities in the region,” Allyn said.

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