PEPPERELL — Town officials from Townsend, Pepperell and Groton agree: After weathering Hurricane Sandy, the local towns have come out with a few scrapes and bruises, mostly to the landscape, but generally in good health and good spirits.
The only one of the three towns to report storm-related injuries was Groton. Fire Chief Joseph Bosselait said his team responded to three medical incidents and wires down with a fire, but would not release any details on the patients. Bosselait confirmed that the department responded to an incident involving a van being struck by a tree limb on Route 119 in Groton in front of the Nashua River Watershed Association.
When asked about injuries to the people involved, Bosselait said, “I believe they were minor, if any.” When asked if the incident was the most serious injury report of the night, he said, “I would say so.” Groton police dispatch would not release any further details and neither Chief Donald Palma nor Lt. James Cullen were available for comment.
Groton DPW Director Tom Delaney said as of Oct. 30, all of the roads were open and safe to drive. The evening before, Main Street had been closed for an hour or less but was reopened once a fallen tree had been removed. By 10 p.m. on Oct. 29, his eight-person crew was off the road.
“There might be a couple small sticks here and there still, but nothing substantial,” he said.
Tammi Lemire from the Groton Electric Light Department said about 600 residences had been affected by power outages throughout the course of the storm, but by 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, that number had decreased to five, and crew members were on the road trying to remedy them.
“There were a couple of issues of wire in the roads, but they were called in and taken care of as they happened, so there are no pending wire issues that we know of,” she said.
Townsend Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula said as of Oct. 30, there were no road closings in Townsend. The evening before, Vinton Pond Road and Pierce Road were both closed due to wires that had fallen, but since then those wires have been moved off to the side of the streets, the power has been turned off of those lines and the roads are once again safe for drivers to traverse. But, Kukkula warned, pedestrians should still avoid the wires on the chance that there is still current going through them. As for trees in the road, he said, there were very few issues that couldn’t be handled by hand and that the wood chipper has thus far been unnecessary. Kukkula’a crew had been responding during the storm, and midnight of Oct. 30, he said, his employees were off the road.
“Most of the stuff was small enough to put in a dump truck and be brought to the garage,” he said.
As for personal injuries or significant property damage to the residents or the town, Police Chief Erving Marshall said public safety had fielded very few calls of that nature.
“I believe they had a transformer fire last night on Spaulding Street, but other than that, no limbs, no trees on houses, no evacuations or rescues or anything like that,” he said. “I think we were very fortunate. We had extra people on both in communications and police patrols but fortunately we didn’t really have to make use of many extra resources at all.”
Town Administrator Andy Sheehan said as of 2:30 on Oct. 30, there were still some pockets of power outages, but that Unitil was working on restoring power to all residents. Additionally, he said, Unitil has been trimming trees along the power lines throughout the years, which helped minimize the damage. In general, he said, he felt that the town fared well throughout the storm.
“I think we were fairly fortunate that the storm lost a lot of its punch or didn’t reach us with its full force. Certainly we had some wind and rain, but it could have been much worse as evidenced by its impact on the coast,” he said. “All in all, we were fairly lucky.”
Pepperell officials, likewise, felt that Pepperell had faired well in the storm.
Elm Street and Jewett Street had been closed due to fallen trees crossing over wires in the road, but by 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 Elm Street had been reopened with Jewett Street quickly following suit.
As of around 10 a.m. Oct. 30, there were 91 residences without power, according to Police Chief David Scott. Scott said no incidents of injury were reported in town, although some residents suffered property damage.
“We did have a couple houses get hit with trees and one parked car get hit with a tree,” said Scott.
Town Administrator John Moak said the Highway Deparment dealt with four fallen trees, but that the crews were off the road by 10 p.m. on Oct. 29. National Grid is handling the remaining roads involving downed power lines.
“I think we fared quite well,” he said. “I think we sustained minimal property damage compared to last October.”
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