Winthrop Escapes the Worst Irene Had to Offer: Downed Trees, Branches and Power Lines the Main Result of Huge Storm

Thursday, September 1, 2011
By Joe Domelowicz
The weekend hurricane that wreaked havoc on most of the eastern seaboard last week, did comparatively little damage here in Winthrop according to Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Paul Flanagan.

“Mostly we had tree damage and some power outages due to the trees, “ said Chief Flanagan. “At the peak we had about 120 homes without power and six streets closed because of downed power lines and trees, but that was really the extent of the damage.”

Winthrop’s harbor was also somewhat lightly hit, as just two boats sunk at docks from the rough seas, including one at the town pier and one at Crystal Cove Marina.

“Because of the number of street closings we had and the unavailability of National Grid, we actually wound up running around and dealing with a lot of the downed wires ourselves to get the streets opened again,” added the Chief. “Fortunately, in most cases, we were able to tape up the ends of broken lines, roll them up and secure them, until the power company could deal with them.”

Flanagan said the town did not have to activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), because of the relatively little damage and the lack of need for sheltering people from the storm.

“The town’s Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) was standing by to open a shelter if we’d needed to, but the need never developed,” he explained. “The town’s emergency management team was meeting regularly before the storm to discuss staffing and response, but again the EOC was never needed, so it was not opened.”

The Emergency Management team includes Flanagan, Police Chief Terence Delehanty, Town Manager Jim McKenna, the health agent, Eric Moore and currently acting Public Works Director Steve Calla.

Calla and his men, according to Flanagan, were also very active during the storm, braving the high winds to clear up as many downed tree  limbs and trees as possible throughout the course of the storm, thus helping to keep roads open as well.

Chief Flanagan said it will probably be several weeks before the town can get an accurate estimate on the amount of damage done in Winthrop, as well as the cost of response and clean-up for the town.

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