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Westport Selectman Calls Storm Impact 'Devastating'

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, center, updates the media about Hurricane Sandy's impact. He is joined by Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar and Police Chief Dale Call.
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, center, updates the media about Hurricane Sandy's impact. He is joined by Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar and Police Chief Dale Call. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. – The storm may be over, but the town has a long period of cleaning up ahead following Hurricane Sandy, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and other town officials said Tuesday afternoon.

“I just came back from a tour of Compo Beach and it’s devastating. There’s a lot of water and a lot of sand,” he told reporters at Fire Headquarters. “I haven’t been to Saugatuck Shores but I’m told there’s damage there as well.”

Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar agreed, saying he also has not seen “such devastation” in his 34-year career. Following Monday night's high tide, Kepchar said flooding in Saugatuck Shores and on Main Street was about four-feet deep.

Joseloff said the brick wall that separates the bathhouses from the boardwalk at Compo Beach “was completely smashed through” by the force of the waves. Also, he said he was told the seawall at Longshore Sailing School will need major repairs—again. The seawall was heavily damaged last August following Hurricane Irene and repaired with the help of the federal government.

Although the weather is clearing up, Joseloff advises residents to stay indoors. Moreover, people should not go to Compo Beach or Saugatuck Shores unless they live there, he added.

Residents should also refrain from trying to clear fallen trees from roadways, as downed wires pose a threat. Outside of physical damage from the storm, the town is dealing with massive power outages. More than 10,000 outages were caused by the storm and Joseloff said he does not know how long it will be until power is fully restored.

He did say, however, that he is “appallingly, appallingly disappointed” by Connecticut Light & Power’s response to the storm.

“By the actions they said they would take, by the announcements pre-storm of prepositioning sufficient help: We have yet to see it,” Joseloff said. “Somehow I’d hoped we’d have a better response but so far, unfortunately, I haven’t seen it.”

The Westport Library and Westport Town Hall will be open to residents who need to charge cell phones and other electronics or use Wi-Fi. Also, fresh water will be available at the fire department.

Westport Police Chief Dale Call asked that residents be patient during the recovery process.

"Most of our families are sitting home without power, so we understand the frustration. We're in the same boat," Call said. "This is not the first rodeo we've been in. It will get better, just bear with it."

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