Irene Delivers Stoughton Harsh Blow
Town left to clean up after Tropical Storm Irene caused damage to dozens of trees and power lines across town. Many residents were also left without power.
A tattered American Flag at a house on Simpson St. near the O'Donnell Middle School was whipping in the wind Sunday afternoon at about 4:30. Irene's heavy rains had curtailed by that point in the day, but the high winds had not.
Not too far from this tattered American Flag a part of a large tree had fallen, completely blocking the road. Some branches on the part of the tree that was still standing were clinging to drooping power lines.
Irene arrived in the Stoughton area on Sunday as a tropical storm--not as a hurricane. And while the rainfall and wind gusts never reached their maximum forecasted potential, by the time Irene exited town, she left behind plenty of damage and left thousands of residents without power.
The scene on Simpson St. was duplicated in a number of other spots across town with dozens of trees falling on power lines, across roadways, or in front and back yards.
Acting Fire Chief Mark Dolloff said there were multiple trees down around town and multiple power lines down as well. (It is important to treat all downed wires as if they are live wires.)
He estimated that 12 trees fell during the storm and struck houses.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Stoughton Fire Department had responded to more than 50 calls, yet Dolloff said there were "no injuries associated with the storm."
Many across town are in the dark however, as Dolloff said the storm had caused multiple power outages.
As of Sunday afternoon, he said National Grid had not estimated when power would be restored. WBZ is reporting that as many as 550,000 in Massachusetts are still without power.
The downtown area appeared to have power on Sunday, however, with traffic lights operating. Honey Dew Donuts, Shaw's and Cheng-Du were some of the businesses near or in the downtown that were open on Sunday. Further down 138, Town Spa was also open. But there were many other spots in town that appeared to be without power.
Dolloff said he was in constant contact with Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr., Police Chief Paul Shastany and DPW Superintendent John Batchelder during the storm. Dolloff said he would be joining the Town Manager for a damage assessment tour Monday morning.
He said Batchelder had DPW crews out during the storm to try to keep the streets passable for emergency crews.
While high winds caused problems and created plenty of storm-related damage, Dolloff said flooding was not an issue in town.
A concern before the storm hit, the front wall of the collapsed building in downtown Stoughton adjacent to the Malcolm and Parsons office withstood the high winds and is still standing. A few sheets of wood used to board up the windows had blown out, however.
A lack of cell service at the fire station on Central St. also left Dolloff wondering if the storm had knocked out a cell tower in town, although as of Sunday afternoon, that had not been confirmed.
The Stoughton DPW said the damage caused by the storm was widespread and the DPW did not have an estimate as to how long it would take to clear.
Dolloff said the town may consider opening a shelter in Stoughton if the power outages go beyond 72 hours.
The Stoughton Department of Public Works is going to have a chipper available at the Stoughton Recycling Center on Page St. (near the entrance to BJs) for this upcoming week, Monday through Saturday.
The chipper will be there for residents to use if they have any brush they want to remove from their yards. Click here for more information.
Share your storm related stories and photos with Stoughton Patch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.