Towns continuing cleanup from blizzard

Jim Warren of Capitol Quarry Materials in Naugatuck plows Morning Dove Road Sunday morning with a payloader. Regular plow trucks could not handle the massive amounts of snow that hit Connecticut Friday and Saturday. –RA ARCHIVE

Jim Warren of Capitol Quarry Materials in Naugatuck plows Morning Dove Road Sunday morning with a payloader. Regular plow trucks could not handle the massive amounts of snow that hit Connecticut Friday and Saturday. –RA ARCHIVE

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said a man he was talking with Monday morning summed up this weekend’s blizzard the best, “Following the snow was like hunting an elephant with a BB gun,” the man said, according to Chatfield.

Blizzard Charlotte, as it’s being called in Connecticut, struck with a fury Friday into to Saturday dumping about 3 feet snow on the area and leaving many plow trucks powerless during the height of the storm.

The clean up effort continued on Monday under rainy skies.

All of the roads in Beacon Falls and Prospect are open, according to Chatfield and Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith, though many are limited to one lane. Crews are currently working to widen the streets in the two towns.

“The goal now is to widen the roads that are single-lane roads,” Smith said.

Smith said the town will start on the main roads than branch out to side roads as time allows.

Chatfield said businesses along routes 68 and 69 in Prospect are plowed out, but urged residents to call the businesses to see if they’re opened before heading out.

In Naugatuck some roads remained unplowed Monday morning as crews worked to clean up borough streets.

A plow truck was stuck on Chestnut Street in Naugatuck Sunday morning. –RA ARCHIVE

A plow truck was stuck on Chestnut Street in Naugatuck Sunday morning. –RA ARCHIVE

The Naugatuck Emergency Operations Center remains activated at the Naugatuck Fire Station. Mayor Robert Mezzo said, on his blog, that the borough will provide updates throughout the day but can not give accurate estimates of plowing times.

Currently there are seven private contractors with 11 pieces of equipment and one crew from the Town of Ridgefield, all with heavy equipment, in Naugatuck working with borough personnel, Mezzo said.

“We expect additional resources to arrive throughout the day, and are using all efforts to obtain additional contractors with heavy equipment. The National Guard remains in Naugatuck, and has a vehicle that can get through heavy snow for emergency 911 response,” Mezzo wrote.

Mezzo said once the borough has made passable lanes on all streets efforts will then turn to widening streets. Public works crews are clearing catch basins in problem areas in response to the rain and freezing rain currently falling, he added.

Mezzo asked that residents limit their communication to emergency management personnel and departments to emergency situations and requests for assistance. Calls for assistance can be made to the Naugatuck Fire Department at (203) 720-7083.

“We appreciate feedback about roads that need plowing, but we are diverting enormous amounts staff time attempting to respond to requests for exact plow times through phone calls, emails and other communications and social media. … We are certainly aware that this storm has caused high levels of frustration for all, but no one’s street is going to be plowed sooner because of constant requests to do so,” Mezzo wrote.

Jim Warren of Capitol Quarry Materials in Naugatuck said Sunday the snow came so hard and fast that regular plows couldn’t handle it.

He said there were five front-end loaders working in Naugatuck to remove snow with regular plow trucks following behind.

The snow blocked the front door of Bill and Shannon Kotsaftis' Prospect home.-CONTRIBUTED

The snow blocked the front door of Bill and Shannon Kotsaftis’ Prospect home.-CONTRIBUTED

From Saturday to Sunday morning, Warren had plowed most of the Indian Hills section of Naugatuck, but even the front-end loader was getting stuck on the steep roads.

One plow truck slid into the woods off Horton Hill Road. Other trucks broke down and got stuck in the deep snow.

“This is hard for everybody,” he said.

He has also been responding to emergency calls with the front-end loader, he said.

Saturday, he towed an ambulance on Osborn Road where a woman was in labor. He said she was driven to Waterbury Hospital, but he didn’t know whether she had a boy or a girl.

Schools in Region 16, which serves Beacon Falls and Prospect, and Naugatuck are closed today as well as Tuesday.

In Naugatuck, Town Hall, the senior center and all other non-emergency management departments are closed today.

A CTTransit bus drives down a snowy Church Street in Naugatuck Friday afternoon. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

A CTTransit bus drives down a snowy Church Street in Naugatuck Friday afternoon. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Beacon Falls Town Hall will be closed until Wednesday, Smith said, as the town works to clear snow from the flat roof of the building.

Prospect Town Hall is up and running, Chatfield said, but the senior center and library are closed.

The storm turned deadly in Prospect on Friday night, when 79-year-old Mary McCormack, of 7 Straitsville Road, Prospect was killed after she was hit by a vehicle while snow blowing her driveway.

In Naugatuck, a police officer crashed into a utility pole on Hill Street, near the intersection of May and High streets, at about 7 p.m. Friday.

Officer John Julian was headed westbound on May Street when he continued down Hill Street. He lost control of his cruiser on Hill Street, which has a steep downward grade, and was unable to stop. The cruiser crashed head-on into a utility pole at the bottom of the hill, said Lt. Bryan Cammarata, spokesman for Naugatuck Police Department.

Julian sustained a leg injury and was treated at Waterbury Hospital.

Police said the accident was caused by poor weather and snowy road conditions. There is no indication that Julian was at fault, Cammarata said. He was not responding to a call at the time of the crash.

Chatfield, who was mayor during the Blizzard of 78, felt this storm was worse. Aside from the tragedy involving the death of McCormack, Chatfield said Prospect fared well.

He thanked residents for their patience and congratulated town workers for the job they did.

Smith, who described the storm as “crippling,” said Beacon Falls responded well to the storm. He said town workers, private contractors, neighbors and volunteers all stepped up and the town avoided any major incidents.

“For the most part people behaved themselves and stayed home,” he said.

The Republican American contributed to this article.

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