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Darien Police Chief: Worst storm in 28 years

Maggie Gordo, Darien News-Review
Published 6:45 pm, Monday, March 15, 2010

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  • This 300-year-old tree fell on Mansfield Avenue near Sedgewick Avenue on Saturday, closing off one of Darien's main routes for several days. Photo: Shawn St. Jean / Darien News
    This 300-year-old tree fell on Mansfield Avenue near Sedgewick Avenue on Saturday, closing off one of Darien's main routes for several days. Photo: Shawn St. Jean

 

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Click an image at left to launch the slideshow of damage spotted by the Darien News on Monday afternoon.

Darien Police chief Duane Lovello said Monday that the damage from this weekend's storm is the worst he's seen in his 28 years at the department.

"We share the frustration of residents wondering when their power will be restored, but they need to understand the enormity of the storm," Lovello said. "I've been here for 28 years, and I've never seen damage like this before."

There are approximately 135 locations in town where trees and wires are downed across roads, and 27 additional locations with only trees down, the chief said.

"The tree warden is plugging away," he said.

As of Monday morning, the town was "concentrating on getting the primary arteries in town opened," Lovello said. This includes Brookside Road, Middlesex Road, Hollow Tree Ridge Road, Leroy Avenue, Rings End Road and Long Neck Point Road, he said.

As of 1 p.m., Brookside Road was "completely passable," and Raymond Street was reopened, he said.

But there are still significant amounts of trees down on some of the town's most-traveled routes and intersections, such as the intersection of Middlesex Road and Edgerton Street, Hollow Tree Ridge Road and Christie Hill Ridge Road and Leroy Avenue and Sedgewick Avenue, Lovello said.

He said it's important that drivers and pedestrians assume that all wires are "live," and avoid contact with them. Drivers should also avoid driving beneath downed trees.

"We're seeing people take chances they ought not to take. Westport and Greenwich both had fatalities ... you can't underestimate these things," Lovello said.

There were no injuries reported in Darien during the storm.

"What we saw Saturday night was unbelievable. You have to treat it with respect," he said.

Inside the communications center at police headquarters on Hecker Avenue, officers fielded 320 911 calls, which Lovello said is about 10 times the amount of calls the department usually receives on a Saturday night.

"Plus other calls. It was pretty chaotic in there," he said. "There were officers on their hands and knees taking phone calls on pads."

The department will continue working to open more roads, and is taking a "methodical" approach to this task, working through areas instead of "hopscotching around town."

Lovello asks that residents be patient, and only call the police department in the case of an emergency.