Storm leaves trail of destruction
A rain storm packing 60-mile-per-hour winds ripped through town Saturday, bringing down trees, power lines and causing flooding in coastal areas. It left behind a path of damage throughout town and the entire county that crews are still continuing to clean.
The Fairfield Fire Department alone responded to more than 140 storm-related calls on Saturday, ranging from fires, wires and trees down to motor vehicle accidents. Due to high winds and imminent flooding, the Reverse 911 System was initiated and residents were advised that a voluntary evacuation was recommended for homes along the shoreline, causing Fire Chief Richard Felner and Police Deputy Chief Gary MacNamara to open the emergency shelter at Roger Ludlowe High School for evacuees.
Tidal water flooded the length of Fairfield Beach Road. Yet fire crews were able to pass through and respond to a fire in a wall, which was quickly extinguished.
Dozens of roads were closed and travel was restricted due to wires and trees down, and numerous vehicles and homes were struck by trees and limbs, including a Ford SUV, which was struck by a large tree squarely across its windshield while on Old Post Road. One driver had to be extricated from a vehicle and transported to the hospital after the vehicle was struck by a tree on Wakeman Road.
According to Assistant Chief Doug Chavenello, who was the shift commander throughout Saturday,
by 2:25 p.m. the storm was beginning to tear roofing tiles away from BJ's Wholesale Club at 40 Black Rock Turnpike. The store was temporarily closed due to the potentially hazardous conditions.
Later in the evening, on Kings Highway East, a homeowner reported his "roof hanging off of the house and barely attached," according to the telecommunicator who took the call. Fire crews responded and secured the scene.
A home on Lynwood Avenue was also struck by a large tree, causing its entire frame to shift and inflicting extensive damage to the roof.
"What's remarkable is that with all the damage from this storm, there weren't more serious injuries," Chavenello said.