Power restoration: 'frustratingly slow'

Although much progress has been made in the wake of super storm Sandy, there is still much to be done in Wilton. First Selectman Bill Brennan made that clear during a press conference at noon on Friday at the Emergency Operations Center in police headquarters.

Power restoration, he said, "is frustratingly slow" because of the widespread damage.

"Every resource is being applied to get the power back on."

Friday, there were nine line crews working in town along with seven tree crews and seven service crews, which attach power lines to houses.

In addition, 20 men who specialize in cutting down trees with chain saws are here from Minnesota through the U.S. Forest Service.

"DPW and Parks and Grounds crews will work the entire weekend until power is restored," Mr. Brennan said. Four town crews are at work. One crew member said they are working 11 1/2- to 12-hour shifts.

Today, crews have been out on Old Belden Hill, Belden Hill, Range Road, Sturges Ridge Road, Cherry Street, Hurlbutt Street, South Westport Road (Rt. 33), Catalpa and Hulda Hill.

"We are putting maximum pressure on CL&P," Mr. Brennan said. "There is no one else we can beat on."

Mr. Brennan said he will be asking how many crews came in from out of state and when did they get here.

Fire Chief Paul Milositz urged residents without power to make plans for colder weather that is expected over the weekend. He was especially concerned for the elderly and those with health conditions.

"Please do this in advance," he said. Wilton Library and Comstock Community will be open during the day. The shelter at Miller-Driscoll will be open overnight.

"Do not wait until you are too cold," he said, urging people to move during the daytime.

On Thursday, the town gave out a pallet of water (4x4x5-feet) in one and a half hours. Three times that amount was ordered for today.

Bulk water is also available at the fire house on Route 7. You must bring your own containers.

All true emergencies should be called in to 911.

People with known medical issues — not emergencies — are asked to notify the police so they can be sure to be able to reach them. The routine police number is 203-834-6260.

Clean up

The transfer station is still without power but was open today and will be open regular hours on Saturday. It will be open for the disposal of household waste only, at no charge. No storm debris will be permitted.

Mr. Brennan said officials are working to identify a spot where people may bring branches and other storm debris.

"Citizens are responsible for the disposal of their own storm debris," he said. Unlike last year when the town collected branches people piled up along the roadsides, the town will not provide cleanup service. "We simply don't have the resources to do it again this year," Mr. Brennan said.

Widespread damage

In an attempt to convey the enormity of the damage done by the storm, Mr. Brennan said that on Tuesday 117 roads were totally blocked. Today, only Old Driftway was still not passable.

Along Route 33, between Wilton and Ridgefield, there were 73 road blockages, Mr. Brennan said, due to wires or trees down.

"The CL&P key crew chief estimated there were over 1,000 issues with power lines and trees," he said.

While most of those issues have been resolved, crews are still clearing trees.