15K without power as strong storms race across ConnecticutPosted: Updated:
Strong winds across Connecticut are being blamed for bringing down several trees and knocking out power to thousands of residents.
At the peak of the storm, there were more than 73,000 Connecticut Light and Power customers without power. As of 8 p.m., 13,838 CL&P customers were without power.
Half of Killingworth was left in the dark after a transformer caught fire on Route 81, officials said. As of 8 p.m., there were 465 customers or 16 percent without power.
It is unclear when all CL&P customers will have their power restored.
United Illuminating reported more than 27,000 outages at the peak of the storm, with the majority of them in New Haven. As of 8 p.m., there were 1,138 customers, or less than 1 percent, without power.
The majority of customers are expected to have power back by noon Friday.
"We've had crews out all morning working on this, and I'm very encouraged by the progress they're making," said James P. Torgerson, UI's president and chief executive officer in a statement Thursday. "We were ready for this storm. We'd been tracking it for a while and started making preparations for it Wednesday, well before it arrived. We understand that loss of electric service is an inconvenience for our customers, and we're working hard to get it back to everyone."
UI officials said the majority of the outages occurred after trees and limbs fell on wires and damaged equipment. Crews are focused in Bridgeport and Stratford.
Firefighters and police departments were also kept very busy, with numerous trees and power lines down across roadways.
In Durham, some power lines were brought down during the powerful storms and then caught fire. To read that story, click here.
IMAGES: Your Wild Weather Photos 1/31/13
High winds caused a tree to snap in half, which landed on a home and started a fire in Portland.
"My heart was like pounding. It was really scary," said Kathy Bagadinski, who called in the fire at 4:30 a.m.
It took down power lines, causing a fire to spark. It was so intense, it melted this paper box and the asphalt.
"It burned so much it turns into glass," said Kalvin Fur, who is a tree service worker. "That's why we have to take precautions for them to ground it before we start working."
In Ledyard, a homeowner was seriously injured and lost his two dogs after his home caught fire. It's unknown what caused the blaze, but officials worked during the storms to knock the fire down.
Metro-North officials said there were delays of up to 30 minutes on the New Haven Line because of the storms. Read more info by clicking here.
Amtrak officials said a tree came down across the tracks in Madison. Crews were on the scene working to remove the tree, and it was not expected to impact service that starts later in the morning.
Sharon Freilich was driving on Prospect Street near Elizabeth Park in Hartford's west end when in the middle of her commute the tree came crashing down on her car.
"Going down the street, I was sitting here, concerned, watching the wind and the trees, thinking this could happen and then boom, it happened to me," she said.
Also in Hartford, the first layer of the roof at the St. Peter's Catholic Church on Main Street was torn off and panels flew off, according to the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The extent and cost of the damage is still unknown since the insurance company still have to assess the damage. However, Archdiocese of Hartford said no church services will be affected by the damage.
In West Hartford on Lyman Road, a towering tree toppled onto three cars and house.
While on Hillcrest Avenue in New Britain, it was more of the same with another uprooted tree and another crushed car.
And in Manchester, a massive tree trunk ended up falling on top of this house on Hilliard Street.
"I was like, wow. That's a pretty big limb to come down," said Debbie Polzun of Manchester. "I knew it was windy last night and the rain, but I was like, holy cow."
West Hartford Reservoir and Reservoir #6 in Bloomfield were closed temporarily while crews for the Metropolitan District Commission cleared away tree debris.
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