Clean up, damage assessment continues in borough

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Flooding ripped apart the parking lot at Prospect Manor, an apartment complex on Prospect Street. Residents were evacuated from the building Wednesday. –LUKE MARHSALL

NAUGATUCK — A day after torrential rains hit Naugatuck, causing flash flooding throughout the borough, a massive clean up effort is underway and officials are working to assess the full scope of the damage.

Public works crews from Naugatuck and the state Department of Transportation are out cleaning up debris from the streets and state officials are assisting in performing damage assessments, including inspecting bridges to ensure they are structurally sound.

Borough officials are operating out of an Emergency Operations Center at the Naugatuck Police Department.

Mayor Robert Mezzo posted on his blog Thursday morning that the borough’s primary focus for assessment will be problem areas in right of ways and other locations that could cause damage to public infrastructure if additional rainfall occurs.

“Our concerns are there is rain in the forecast in the next few days, and we want to make sure the washed-out areas won’t wash out further,” Mayoral Aide Ed Carter said.

As of this post only one road, Scott Street at Andrew Avenue, is closed, Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Robert Harrison said. He said the shoulders of some other roads in Naugatuck are compromised. He said people can still drive on these roads, but have to drive around the compromised parts, which are blocked off.

“Our goal is hopefully by the end of the day to have all roads passable,” Carter said.

Mezzo posted that a travel advisory is still in effect and urged drivers to exercise extreme caution while driving as hazards and/or debris may still be present at many locations.

Resident can call the street department at (203) 720-7071 to report damaged roads.

The rain began early Wednesday afternoon and dropped between 5 and 6 inches on the borough in a matter of hours, leading to flash floods.

Mezzo declared a state of emergency at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The declaration is necessary for the borough to receive assistance from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Flooding was rampant throughout the borough including in the Cherry Street Extension area, which typically floods during heavy rain, Hoadley Street, and the Aetna Street area.

At 30 Aetna St. the rushing waters washed away the retaining wall, part of the driveway, and a dumpster into the parking lot of the Cosmetology Center on Rubber Avenue a little after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Rushing water ripped up a path leading to Hillside Intermediate School on Hillside Avenue, reportedly tossing manhole covers, and flooding Meadow Street. Running water also cascaded down from the hill behind the Mobil gas station on South Main Street, flooding the station’s parking lot. Water was still running through the parking lot Thursday morning.

Two apartment buildings — Prospect Manor at 83 Prospect St. and one at 55 Trowbridge Place — were evacuated Wednesday due to flooding in the basement.

Carter estimated between 40 and 60 people were displaced Wednesday.

The Red Cross operated an emergency shelter out of the Naugatuck Senior Center on Wednesday. Carter said one resident came to the shelter and the Red Cross put the resident up in a hotel for the night. The other residents were able to find a place to stay for the night, Carter said.

Crews work to repair damage to the road caused by flooding at the intersection of Scott Street and Andrew Avenue Thursday. –LUKE MARHSALL

The senior center is operating as normal today, Carter said. The borough will keep it open late Thursday if there’s a need, he said.

As of this post, Carter said electricity had been resorted to the second and third floors of the apartment building at 55 Trowbridge Place. The lower floor, which suffered flood damage, was still without power this morning, according to Carter.

The flooding tore the parking lot at Prospect Manor to shreds.

If possible, Carter said, the borough will try to assist the landlord of Prospect Manor to clean up debris in the parking lot so tenants can park. Currently, he said, tenants are parking at Prospect Street School, which is across the street.

Power has also been restored to the first and second floors of Prospect Manor, but not to the basement units said Vincent Lagasse, who owns the building. Lagasse said there are 11 tenants in the six apartments in the basement. He said it’s going to be a minimum of a month before they are able to move back in.

Jim Cronan, a resident of Prospect Manor, said he spent Wednesday night at his parent’s house and was able to move back into his apartment Thursday. He didn’t believe there was any structural damage to the building, just the parking lot.

In the six years Cronan has lived at Prospect Manor, he said he’s seen the nearby brook flood but never as bad as it did Wednesday.

Lagasse said Wednesday was the third and worst time the brook had overflowed this year. He said he plans on talking to the town about the flooding issues, but his main concern is getting the tenants back into their homes.

While the flooding left quite a bit of damage in its wake, no injuries have been reported.

“Most importantly, there were no reported injuries to Naugatuck residents or borough personnel during or after the storm and flooding,” Mezzo wrote Wednesday night. “Our police officers, firefighters and public works employees performed exceptionally during this significant flooding event to protect our citizens and minimize damage to property. We appreciate the patience and perseverance of all Naugatuck residents during this unique weather event.”

In Prospect, the heavy rain from Wednesday’s storm caused mud to slide down the hill where the new Aria by Villa Rosa banquet facility in Prospect is being built. Mud from the construction site began to slide across Route 69 and Murphy Road, but construction crews set up bales of hay to contain it. A small stream formed between the hay bales and a stone retaining wall.

No incidents were reported in Beacon Falls.

Naugatuck residents requiring any pumping of basements can call the Naugatuck Fire Department at (203) 720-7084.

Residents who have sustained property damage can the Connecticut Insurance Department for assistance with insurance questions at (860) 297-3900 or toll free at (800) 203-3447 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Staff members from Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro’s office are available to answer insurance and/or other storm related damage questions at (203) 562-3718, Mezzo posted.

Mezzo also urged residents to ask for appropriate credentials, the necessary levels of state licensing and applicable insurance from any contractor offering to do storm-related repairs. Questions about any contractor can be directed to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection at (800) 842-2649.