The hours ticked by as power crews vigorously worked to restore power to homes in Bethany. Some have be without electricity and heat for more than 48 hours.
But as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, less than one percent of town – that’s less than two dozen people – were still in the dark compared to about 96 percent Monday around the same time.
“We’re very cold. It’s only like 45 degrees in my house,” said Larysa Gildea.
It’s been a tough couple of days for her and her three children. As of 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, she was still without power but crews flooded Brookwood Road working to restore it.
“I think three poles snapped in half. Then we had one that was down. But we’re kind of used to this. The last storm that we had in May, we were down for five to six days,” Gildea said.
But single-digit temperatures haven’t made it easier. The family has a wood burning stove but it doesn’t have a blower, and their generator has restrictions. Space heaters, electric blankets and snuggling have been their solution.
“It’s really hard to move around,” said 13-year-old daughter Mischa Stacy. “You’re so used to turning on the light switch and you’re like, ‘oh, right.’”
It was the first time the family was able to get out of the house since the storm hit Sunday. They’re also without water.
“We have to fill up the bathtub and that’s what we use to flush the bathroom — the toilets,” Gildea said. “So we’re roughing it.”
Crews were up and down Route 69 and the adjoining side roads in Bethany working to get the lights back on.
Some streets had lines down in the snow.
Ice shattered on the ground as they cut trees that had toppled onto power lines or hindered repairs.
“We were all like, ‘oh my god we have power back! The lights are on. Yes,” 17-year-old Keely Barletta explained.
After about 48 hours the lights are back on in the Barletta home. So is the WiFi.
“Oh, I’m so happy! I didn’t think it would come back,” Barletta smiled.
Dad Criag Barletta was just glad he had two wood burning stoves to help keep his family warm during the single-digit weather. Not having water was tough, though.
“It’s a lot of pressure when you’re worrying about that. Taking care of your family,” Barletta said.
But he has a lot of respect for the linemen braving the weather and wind chill.
“I feel for the line guys who are out there freezing and trying to get us power. That’s a tough thing. I work outside too. It’s brutally cold to be out there working and trying to concentrate and do your job,” Barletta said.
Bethany First Selectman Derrylyn Gorski said the town switched warming centers twice. The feed to the generator at the Bethany Congregational Church froze. Then the heat at the Bethany Community School wasn’t circulating.
Now the warming center is at Town Hall, which opened late Tuesday because of frozen pipes.
“We have asked people to please stay home. It’s just not safe. If you’re out driving around, stuff is dropping on your car,” Gorski said.
Gorski said Sunday evening a falling branch just barely missed a lineman. The branches are so heavy from the ice, it’s created a dangerous situation, she added.
“He’s on the boom and a branch came and missed — just missed him. They pulled the crews out. And they should have,” Gorski said.