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Darien pummeled by Sandy

Updated 3:44 pm, Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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  • In her wake, Hurricane Sandy littered Darien with fallen trees, like this on Mansfield Avenue that hangs over the wires. Photo: Contributed
    In her wake, Hurricane Sandy littered Darien with fallen trees, like this on Mansfield Avenue that hangs over the wires. Photo: Contributed

 

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Hurricane Sandy hit Darien hard with major wind gusts as well as widespread flooding and leaving a majority of the town without power.

According to Police Detective John Murphy at the Emergency Operations Center, the town experience flooding in many areas of town, including Tokeneke, Goodwives River, Long Neck Point Road, Rings End Road and Nearwater Lane.

"Last night's [flooding] was about 2 feet higher than what we had at noon, and that was higher than what they normally would get," Murphy said on Tuesday.

As Sandy ramped up in early evening hours, about 75 families took refuge at the shelter at Darien High School.

"It was a little noisy, and we couldn't turn the lights off because we were on a generator, but everyone cooperated very well and everyone basically fell asleep," said Sandra Volin, who was the volunteer in charge of the shelter throughout the night.

By Tuesday morning, only a handful of families were left inside the shelter as the rest went back to their homes, with most of them not knowing if their properties suffered any damage.

"They may not have power, but they were free to go," Volin said.

On Tuesday, numerous roads were closed and blocked off because of fallen trees, including Sedgwick Avenue, Mansfield Avenue, Stephen Mather Road, Leroy Avenue, Brookside Road, Talmadge Hill Road and Rings End Road. One downed tree crushed a car on Mansfield Avenue but managed to miss the house.

According to Marc McEwan of the EOC, there are at least 30 homes throughout town that are extensively damaged and some are even inhabitable because of tree damage.

One Darien resident, Lisa Adams, had at least five trees down on her property as well as one resting against the chimney. The tree did not crash into the house. There was also a tree across her street that blocked her house in.

On Twitter, she tweeted, "It will take weeks to get power and passable roads. It's astounding how much damage."

Numerous trees are suspended on telephone wires or covering half the road. There was tree debris, like small branches and leaves, that littered practically every road in Darien. Getting in and out of Darien is extremely difficult. Because of the power outage, most of the traffic lights are out on the Post Road. According to Connecticut Light & Power, 88 percent of Darien customers are powerless, as late Tuesday afternoon.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson advises Darien residents to stay indoors while town crews assess damage and try to begin restoration. She said the sewer pump stations are operational, and residents may use the sanitary system, but she advised that they to stay away from the public beaches and that it "will be unsafe to have outdoor Halloween activities."

Police have also advised residents to stay away from all downed wires, which remain energized.

One resident of Dubois Street, who hesitant to provide his name, said Hurricane Sandy wasn't as bad as Irene of a year ago in many ways.

"There weren't as much rain and the winds weren't quite as bad," said the resident, who was currently without power but didn't plan to leave his home. He said the longest he's been without power in Darien was 48 hours, so he wasn't worried.

A large tree in the resident's back yard broke in half and destroyed his patio furniture, but the resident said the damage was minimal compared to what it could have been.

During the peak hours of the storm, Darien called in the Connecticut National Guard and the Manchester Dive Rescue Team because the flooding was much worse than predicted.

Darien schools are closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and Town Hall was closed on Tuesday.

mdavis@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4407; twitter.com/megdariennews