Due to the large numbers of downed trees and wires, Seymour residents could be in for a long wait before power is restored.
“There is no current estimate for power to be restored. Expect prolonged power outages for multiple days,” according to a statement from the Seymour Police Department.
In addition to the obvious damage, three of the five electrical substations in Seymour were damaged during Tuesday evening’s quick but powerful rain and wind storm, First Selectman Kurt Miller said.
“At this point they are telling us it’s probably going to be a few days before power is fully restored,” Miller said.
Click play on the video above for an interview with Miller conducted at 10 a.m. Wednesday in front of the Seymour Police Department.
As of noon Wednesday, 97 percent of Eversource customers in Seymour were still without power. That’s 7,356 homes and businesses.
Miller said only about 260 homes along Route 34 and the Housatonic River seemed to be spared.
The First Selectman said he was frustrated with Eversource’s response.
Click the button below to listen to a Code Red the town sent out late Wednesday morning.
But Mitch Gross, a spokesman for the utility company, said the company is responding.
“We are working closely with Mr. Miller. While we’ve restored over 60,000 customers, we are advising customers in the western part of the state to prepare for multiple days without power,” Gross said in an email.
Portable generators could be heard throughout Seymour Wednesday.
One triggered a fire, Seymour Deputy Fire Marshal Timm Willis said.
Willis said the generator fire damaged a house on Seymour’s Olson Drive about 7 a.m.
Click play to listen to an interview with Willis.
No injuries were reported in the blaze, he said.
Willis said combustible materials near the generator ignited and burned the side of the house.
The home’s owner was able to put out most of the fire with a garden hose before firefighters arrived, he said.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the town had not made a decision as to whether open a shelter of some type.
Residents can monitor the Office of the First Selectman Facebook page, or the Seymour Police Department Facebook page. The town has also been sending out robocalls.
“We’re having discussions about potentially opening one of the shelters as a charging and showering station during the day,” Miller said. “Fortunately the weather has been on our side. It’s not too cold, it’s not too hot, so we don’t need to give people a place to sleep.”
Seymour was scheduled to declare a state of emergency Wednesday.
Doing so sets the town up to get reimbursed for costs connected to storm response, and gives the First Selectman ability to act independently to some degree without the full Board of Selectmen.
Miller also said National Weather Service officials were scheduled to tour Seymour Wednesday afternoon. They’re trying to determine whether tornadoes touched down in Oxford and Seymour.
Damage in Seymour is widespread. Vehicles were lining up for gas at the Shell station next to Tri-Town Plaza Wednesday morning.
Cars lined up at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru in Tri-Town Plaza before realizing the power outage meant no coffee.
The fire department reported more than 50 calls for service in the immediate aftermath of the storm. That’s an estimate. There were so many calls the department was still trying to sort them.
Most of the calls were for trees falling against houses and wires, but no injuries had been reported.
Willis asked residents to stay off roads if they can.
“If you don’t have to go to work today, your kids aren’t in school, stay home if possible,” he said.
Willis said residents should “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Emergency crews would be staffing firehouses and were in the process of responding to residents with oxygen issues Wednesday, Willis said. Anyone else with a medical emergency should dial 911.
He also reminded residents to treat traffic lights without power as stop signs.
“I don’t know of any working traffic lights in the town of Seymour,” he said about 10 a.m.
In a message Wednesday, Oxford First Selectman George Temple said it could take a week to restore power to his town.
Storm damage from Tuesday forced schools to close in Oxford and Seymour Wednesday. Miller doubted whether Seymour schools would be open Thursday.
In Oxford First Selectman George Temple sent a message Wednesday saying the Quaker Farms School at 30 Great Oak Road was opened as an emergency shelter.
“The shelter will open at 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. today (Wednesday, May 16) and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. until power is restored,” Temple said.
“The shelter will provide showers, light refreshments, water and phone charging. Please bring your own toiletries. Eversource has estimated that power will be restored in 5-7 days.
Also from Temple:
“Tomorrow’s budget referendum is postponed and the future date will be announced. All Town meetings are cancelled until further notice. Many people asked me if they can volunteer to help. The best thing to do is cleaning up around your street. By all means avoid downed power lines. They may or may not be live. If you wish to volunteer at the shelter, just show up and offer your services. Above all, be patient and avoid going on the roads. Excess traffic impedes recovery. If you have any problems or questions please don’t hesitate to call my cell at 203-906-0348.”
Derby schools were canceled Wednesday — but only after some students reported to classes at the high school.
In a message, Superintendent Matthew Conway apologized for the late notice, but said the decision was made after staffers reported they were unable to get to work.
Conway’s message is embedded below.
In Shelton, about 400 United Illuminating customers — or 2 percent of customers there — were without power as of 12 p.m. Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the state, Tuesday’s storm killed two people.
According to state police, a 41-year-old New Fairfield woman was hit by a falling tree and killed while driving on Gillotti Road. Her 3-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle but did not appear to be injured.
In neighboring Danbury, a man was killed in the Candlewood Lake area when a tree fell on his vehicle, according Mayor Mark Boughton.