'It was a hellish night': Many in Bristol still without power as city continues clean-up from tropical storm

Published on Thursday, 6 August 2020 16:03


BRISTOL – Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu says the city has been working for the last 48 hours to recover from the Tropical Storm Isaias, which has left 10,000 Eversource customers without power.

“It was a hellish night Tuesday,” Zoppo-Sassu said. “There were three structure fires Tuesday night on top of all of the other chaos. Given the extensive damage to the system, Eversource expects this to be a multi-day restoration process. Neighboring states have available crews to help as well.”

Zoppo-Sassu said the city is poised to spend another night clearing up damage with crews working 24-hour shifts.

“Eversource has come in and is working with our public works crew to clear out and open roads for residents and emergency service access,” she said. “Some of our guys are working extra shifts to get it done. Their efforts are being supplemented with workers from the Parks and Recreation and Sewer Departments. There were three city trees which fell on houses. Two of them have been rectified and we are working on the third one. There has been a lot of private property damage.”

Zoppo-Sassu said Eversource began by concentrating on priority areas, such as Vance Drive, which had a primary power line on fire, and Kenney Street, where two trees fell on houses.

“It is frustrating to see people posting on social media saying that they aren’t seeing trucks,” Zoppo-Sassu said. “They’re here, but their priorities have been things like lines that are on fire or neighborhoods with high incidents of medical calls. There is a method to the madness and we need to get our critical infrastructure back up or our problems will multiply. I understand that this is frustrating, 2020 has been a horrible year, but we need to take a deep breath and remember that we are resilient and all in this together.”

Zoppo-Sassu said she has been in daily communication with municipal liaisons to Eversource. She said the city has also been fortunate two supervisors and several crew members are Bristol residents.

“These aren't the guys making policies,” she said. “They are out there working hard and they are dedicated to opening streets and getting power restored.”

The Senior Center at 240 Stafford Ave. is open as cooling and charging centers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additionally, Bristol Public Library at 5 High St. is open as cooling and charging centers Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

“The library is open all weekend, which is not typically the case in the summer,” Zoppo-Sassu said.

Bristol residents will be allowed to dump brush at the City Transfer Station free of charge. All residents who do not have an active Transfer Station permit must have proper photo ID and vehicle registration showing that they are city of Bristol residents.

Transfer station hours for Aug. 8 will be extended by four hours until 5 p.m. for people to bring in brush only. Next week, the Transfer Station will extend its hours until 6 p.m. for people to bring in brush only. Trash pick-up, recycling and yard waste pick up is all on schedule.

Zoppo-Sassu said the storm may have also affected internet and communication services in the area.

“Unfortunately, they may not be able to send technicians into some neighborhoods to make repairs due to downed trees and electrical wires,” she said. “Only after any damaged power lines are repaired in your area can technicians obtain access to begin fixing their equipment and network.”

Customers who wish to report an outage or check on the status of one should visit eversource.com and enter either their phone number or their Eversource account number.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Thursday, 6 August 2020 16:03. Updated: Thursday, 6 August 2020 16:06.