National Guard Responds to Help Clear Roads After Tornadoes

The National Guard was deployed Friday in Bethany, New Fairfield and Brookfield after four tornadoes came through Connecticut Tuesday. 

Their mission is to make roads passable so utility crews can get the power back on to thousands of houses and businesses. 

The sun was shining when Nancy Bennett-Morgenstern was out for a walk in Bethany Tuesday and had to find shelter quickly when the storms came. 

“I spent the tornado in a storm drain,” Bennett-Morgenstern said. 

She said her cell service signal was low and she didn't receive a storm alert until it was too late. 

“I could hear electrical wires popping and trees coming down,” Bennett-Morgenstern said. 

Her husband rescued her and they found a lot of damage when they got back to Old Fairwood Road. 

“Lots of trees down on the road. It looked like a bomb hit, and of course our house has a tree laying on it, but we are all OK,” Bennett-Morgenstern said. 

Bennett-Morgenstern’s son is in the National Guard and on day three of cleanup the Connecticut National Guard was deployed to help. 

“The National Guard motto is ‘always ready, always here,’ so we are here supporting anyway we can,” First Lieutenant Jennifer Pierce, the public information officer for the 103rd Airlift Wing in the Connecticut National Guard, said. 

A large portion of Bethany was still without power on Friday. While state and local crews, as well as utility companies, continue to work to repair damage, the National Guard is helping to clear fallen trees and unblock roads. 

“Our civil engineering teams are out here, basically they are cutting down trees. They are clearing the roads. They have equipment out here that can push all the trees back and that way the power companies are able to access the roads,” Pierce said. 

There are also 15 emergency centers open across the state as well as several shelters. In Bethany the town hall and 1st Congregational Church are also open for anyone in need. 

Still smashed cars, downed trees and repair crews are commonplace. 

“Pretty bad. Parts of town are pretty wiped out. I could see where something definitely came through, trees on houses and cars and roads blocked and everybody working together,” Tony Ciarleglio, who is with Bethany Public Works, said. 

The Bethany Public Works crews they’ve had long hours and long days, but everyone in town is hopeful. 

“It’s scary so I just hope people are able to get back to normal as soon as possible,” Bennett-Morgenstern said. 

The National Guard said they do not have a timeframe for how long they will be in Bethany, however they will help as long as it takes to get everyone back on their feet.  

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