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Norwalk Mostly Powerless, Flooded After Irene

NORWALK, Conn. – Trees across roads, loud bangs and arcing wires — Irene is gone, but her power remains.

Callers were continuing to complain about exploding transformers in Norwalk more than 12 hours after Tropical Storm Irene made her way through the city Sunday. Asked what the major problems remained, Mayor Richard Moccia summed it up this way: "The major problems are the entire city."

At mid-afternoon, Moccia knew of 71 fallen trees. At the time, Connecticut Light & Power listed 45 percent of Norwalk customers as without power. At 10 p.m. Sunday, the amount was up to 58 percent. It will take at least two or three days to restore power, Moccia said. State Sen. Bob Duff said it will probably take a week. CL&P announced that crews will work around the clock, but most crews will only work during daylight for safety.

A dog was electrocuted at Shady Beach at about 4 p.m. Sunday, and several people received shocks, a Norwalk police officer confirmed. A live wire was in the water. Access to the beach was closed for hours after police blocked Calf Pasture Beach Road just past Marvin Elementary School. This also meant that residents could not get to Norwalk Cove Marina to check on their boats.

Canfield Avenue was blocked as well, simply by the amount of water in the road. Woodward Avenue in South Norwalk was flooded, and only SUVs could get through at about 3:15 p.m.

A woman stood on the sidewalk, staring sadly down the road. She lived on Baxter Road and could not get home. A passerby refused to give her a ride. She said a friend was coming to help her. A short while later a young man began helping her walk down the road.

The Department of Public Works used snowplows to clear some debris from roads but did not approach trees with wires in them. CL&P sent crews out at about 3 p.m., but progress was slow.

Basements and roads were flooded in South Norwalk. A resident said the water came in "very fast" with the high tide. He called the Norwalk Fire Department and asked to have his basement pumped but was told that wasn't possible. Disappointed, he said his furnace would be OK and was using a generator to run a dehumidifier.

Fallen trees blocked major roads into Rowayton. David McCarthy said a tree at the Rowayton Community Center toppled, damaging four cars as well as falling on the road and power lines.

Residents watched hopefully as workers from Asplundh Construction worked on the tree, but McCarthy reported later that the problem had not been resolved. He said Rowayton's seawall and sidewalk were "trashed."

Soundview Avenue was blocked near Highland Avenue. Fairfield Avenue was blocked.

A resident of North Taylor Avenue took matters into his own hands at about 7 p.m. and began chopping up a fallen tree despite the presence of live wires. Police told him to stop. Connie Queseda, a neighbor, said the man was frustrated because he had seen many DPW trucks go by. She said there was a burned spot in the road from the wires.

She had been scared the night before when she heard the transformer explode. "My daughter was sleeping on the sofa when I heard the bang and I said, 'Oh my God,'" she said. "I'm really happy now. A tree? Who cares about that? I thought it was going to be the end of me. My kids are fine, we are fine."

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