Tropical Storm Isaias left more than 700,000 customers in Connecticut without power Wednesday, after moving through the state Tuesday afternoon and causing destruction for anything that fell in its path.
Locally, according to Eversource as of Wednesday afternoon, 14,778 customers in Bristol were without power; 7,102 customers in New Britain had no power; 9,577 customers in Southington had no power; 5,475 in Plainville had no power; 4,759 Plymouth customers were experiencing outages; 4,344 Berlin customers has no power; and 5,242 Newington customers were without power.
Eversource in the afternoon said 623,134 of its customers around the state - which accounts for just over 48% of customers around Connecticut served by the power company - were experiencing outages. United Illuminating Wednesday afternoon reported having 92,242 customers without power.
Area first responders Tuesday afternoon and into the evening hours were bombarded with calls for trees that toppled over during the robust winds that Isaias brought, often bringing down power lines and utility poles with them.
“In the past few years I don’t remember something like this with the volume of calls we had,” Bristol Fire Chief Mark Flynn said.
Firefighters Tuesday spent their afternoon and evening going from call to call for trees and tree limbs that blew down during the storm.
“We had a lot of reports of people trapped in cars or in a house,” Flynn said, noting most of these situations turned out to not be as bad as the original report indicated.
“We would clear one call and respond to another,” the Bristol chief said, adding that two extra engines were called in to deal with the high number of calls.
Dispatchers, Flynn said, did a “phenomenal job” prioritizing the nonstop calls for service. Between about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and shortly after midnight, Bristol firefighters had responded to more than 140 calls for service. These included two fires - one at a single-family home on Round Hill Road, the other at a condo on Ruth Street - that displaced as many families. No injuries were reported at either incident.
Matt Forbotnick, a landlord who owns a five-family home at the corner of East Street and Linden Street in New Britain, spent his afternoon Wednesday removing a large tree that came crashing down from the neighboring property and smashed down onto the porch. He used a chainsaw to cut the tree before its removal.
“It kind of came down and knocked the porch down,” Forbotnick said. “I have to make sure my tenants can get in and out.”
Fortunately, the landlord said, “everybody is OK.”
Bob Casey, a High Street resident of Bristol, had a large tree across from his home come down, partially falling on power lines. The wind, he said, was moving in from the south and straight at his house.
“It was pretty. It was as much wind as I’ve seen,” Casey said, adding he thought the gusts would tear up every piece of vegetation in his yard.
Casey said he heard three transformers explode in the area of Prospect Street and Riverside Avenue.
“It sounded like an explosion inside a barrel,” Casey said.
Rio Fernandez, who lives on the other side of High Street in Bristol, had a tree come down in his next door neighbor’s yard.
“It was kind of unexpected,” Fernanez said. “I didn’t think the wind was going to be that crazy.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.