FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A group of about 100 Fairfield residents spoke with First Selectman Michael Tetreau and other town leaders at a town hall meeting Thursday morning at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church.
Many expressed frustration with having to live without electricity and, in some cases heat, for as long as a week according to the latest projections. Residents were more split on the town’s response. Some said local officials were “doing the best they can,” as one resident put it.
Others wanted to see more of a response from Tetreau and other town leaders. “Do something,” one resident pleaded.
Here are the responses to a few of the questions asked at the meeting:
When will power come back on? What’s being done to speed things up?
United Illuminating said Thursday it will restore 95 percent of its power by midnight Monday. The utility only has three crews working in Fairfield, but expects to get another 600 workers in from out of state soon. Tetreau and Fairfield’s state representative said they’ve been pressuring UI to move faster, but the utility has not been as responsive as they’d hoped.
“UI dropped the ball on this one,” said State Rep. Tony Hwang. He added, “[They're] not getting a free pass on this.”
When can I check on my home in the beach area?
Fairfield’s Department of Public Works began pumping water out of the beach area Thursday. Fairfield police are taking residents out Thursday afternoon to the western portion of Fairfield Beach Road. Those interested should meet at the Fairfield Ludlowe High School rear parking lot between 2:30-4 p.m.
Once the water level has receded, Fairfield police will move their perimeter around the beach area to allow more residents to return home. The building department is marking unsafe buildings with a red tag notifying residents of any construction that’s a safety risk. Officials also suggest contacting insurance companies and private electricians to make sure that homes will be ready once power is restored to the area.
Will school open next week?
Fairfield Public Schools have been closed through Friday. The Board of Education will make a decision Sunday morning on when schools will re-open.
What happens on Election Day? Will I get to vote?
The town is preparing its 10 polling places as if elections will be Tuesday as planned. Tetreau also asked UI to make those buildings a priority, but he was unsure if the utility would listen. As of Thursday afternoon, no official announcement has been made about postponing the election.
How can I know what’s going on if I don’t have power?
State representatives and volunteers have been distributing fliers with information to neighborhoods without power. Police officers and firefighters also have been going through neighborhoods in person. They also have set up information stations at ShopRite (1975 Black Rock Turnpike) and the former Stratfield IGA (at the intersection of Stratfield and Fairfield Woods Road). Chief Gary MacNamara also said he would consider a suggestion to put informational fliers on telephone poles around town.
What about security in the beach area?
Fairfield police still are patrolling the area and have set up a perimeter to keep non-residents out. A contingent of National Guardsmen also has come to town and is helping the police’s normal patrols. There have not been any reports of looting to private homes in the area, MacNamara said.
Where can I go if I still can’t return home?
Fairfield plans to close its shelter Friday at Fairfield Ludlowe High School because most of its guests have decided to leave, Tetreau said. Those who are left in the shelter Friday will be relocated to others in Bridgeport and Norwalk until they can return home.