Wednesday was an eventful day for the restoration effort: The Fan Hill Road substation hummed back to life, the library closed when a generator failed before reopening, the 911 system was out of whack, and some reported seeing a helicopter landing at Masuk High School.
Police Capt. Michael Flick said the latter was a low flying CL&P chopper, whose occupants performed an assessment of high intensity power lines behind Masuk to determine if any came down. But there was no actual landing at the high school.
First Selectman Steve Vavrek announced that the showers at Wolfe Park will be available on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Power has been restored along a stretch of Route 111, but Vavrek said it is not yet known if Masuk is back up.
When Flick was interviewed at 7 p.m., he said a CL&P crew was working on Barn Hill Road Extension, where there was extensive damage.
Vavrek said, "We were one of the worst hit towns once again. This storm was much worse than last year's, because trees are down — hundreds of trees throughout the town. Last year, we had branches down. This year it's trees."
The first selectman said over 50 roads were shut down due to fallen trees.
"There still are wet land conditions," he said. "We still have trees coming down, but we have to be as quick as we can."
Vavrek said Department of Public Works crews have been working around the clock to clear debris, adding they have to stop when power lines are involved to wait for CL&P crews.
Flick said DPW crews are cleaning up Bagburn Hill, Old Zoar Road and Barn Hill Road extension — where there was major damage — to make way for lines crews to repair electrical wires.
Who Has Power?
Power was restored to High Meadows, along Route 34 and on Monroe Turnpike up to East Village Road, according to Flick. With the Fan Hill Road substation back in service, he said streets on that grid could be up and running.
Residents visiting Monroe Patch's Facebook page say that power is back on Twinbrook Terrace, Meadow Brook Drive, Purdy Hill Road, Knorr Road, half of Lynn Drive, Owl Hill and Jeannette Street.
A Scholz Road resident in Stevenson said she saw a CL&P crew fixing the box up at Great Quarter Road, which she believes will bring power up 111 to Hammertown Road.
When asked how many lines crews were in town today, Flick said there were at least six in Monroe this evening.
A number of people have noticed inaccurate readings on the CL&P Outage Map during the week. First Selectman Steve Vavrek says the percentage of the town without power is actually in the low 80s.
"I tell people not to look at the CL&P website," Vavrek said. "They're shutting down grids, so the estimates are going up. But they’re coming back down. When grids go up, it means work is being done."
On restoring power, Flick said, "We’re trying to target priorities. There are priorities given to CL&P based on population, people with medical issues and continuity of government and emergency services."
When power is restored to commercial thoroughfares, Flick said the Trumbull-Monroe Heath District is notified, so it can perform inspections of food service establishments to ensure businesses are not cooking and serving food that may be bad.
Obstacles Along the Way
Edith Wheeler Memorial Library was crowded Wednesday as residents came in for the Internet service, recharging of batteries and library programs, but the building had to close down temporarily early in the afternoon when a generator malfunctioned.
Police said the power jumped when work was being done to clear away a tree at the Fan Hill substation and the library generator didn't kick on as it is supposed to. The main portion of the library reopened about an hour later and remained open until the end of the night.
Flick said there was also a problem with the generator that handles emergency 911 calls at the police station today. Monroe Town Hall lost phone service and emergeny calls were being diverted to the police station's administrative phones, he said, adding it took five hours to replace the broken generator with a new one.
'CL&P Dropped the Ball'
"Statewide CL&P, in my opinion, has dropped the ball," Vavrek said. "Our state delegation is on top of it."
"Some things promised in the past have not happened," he said of the power company. "But we have to move forward."
However, the first selectman said he's happy with the CL&P liaison that he and other town officials communicate with everyday.
"Hats off to our DPW for clearing the debris and working 24/7 in multiple shifts," Vavrek said. "Our town liaison has been working hard to coordinate with our DPW, which is our main source of information right now. We're working better to coordinate our services. I think you'll see a lot more activity in the coming days."