FEMA to assess flash flood damage in Clinton

New London

The bridge connecting The Morgan School to the high school athletic fields was among several roads and bridges washed out during the Sept. 25th flash flooding in Clinton, and the damage may be more than meets the eye.

“This area in particular has the water main running across in and also the gas line,” said Clinton First Selectwoman Christine Goupil.

FEMA teams are now assessing the damage in Clinton and several other towns. That information will be sent to Governor Malloy who may use it to seek a presidential disaster declaration so towns can get federal funding to help pay for repairs.

“Roads were washed out and collapsed and that kind of damage is very costly,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Clinton at first estimated damage to be about $750,000, but it may be much more than that. It’s not just town property though, private homes were also damaged but won’t be covered by this assessment.

“Here at least up to here and everything was under water,” described Clinton resident Terrance Russell who showed News 8 the water mark in his garage which was about five feet up the wall.

More than a hundred homes had to be evacuated when water threatened to breach the Kelseytown Dam during the severe September storm.

“The water came up to the second floor,” said Russell. “You can just hear everything just falling over downstairs stuff breaking.”

Russell was at the news conference hoping for help.

“It’s sad, I mean, just seeing friends that have lost stuff and people just don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Russell.

“We are going to bat for these homeowners with their insurance companies because it should be covered,” said Senator Blumenthal.

In the meantime, this preliminary damage assessment is aimed at helping out towns.

In addition to Clinton, Essex, and other shoreline communities, the FEMA teams will be heading to several other towns including Colchester, Sprague, Franklin, and Norwich to assess damage costs.

“It has to do with repairing the damaged facility to the predisaster condition,” said FEMA representative Diego Alvarado. “Whatever that takes.”

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