By DAVE COLLINS. Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A winter storm that blanketed Connecticut with up to a foot and a half of snow was blamed for several building collapses Thursday, including a cave-in at a barn in Somers that forced the euthanization of a horse.
A foot of snow fell at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, pushing the January total to an all-time monthly record of 54.9 inches, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson. The previous monthly record was 45.3 inches in December 1945.
Forty-five flights were canceled at Bradley, representing about 20 percent of all flights. The Metro-North rail service, meanwhile, was running a limited Sunday schedule on the New Haven line and it suspended service on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branches. A Metro-North commuter train ran off the tracks in New Canaan, but no passengers or crew members were hurt.
Firefighters in Somers, in the north-central part of the state along the Massachusetts border, were called to the barn at Lindy Farms shortly after 7 a.m. Fire Chief Gary Schiessl said there were seven horses in the barn at the time, and three were trapped after the collapse. No people were injured.
Schiessl said authorities had to cut away the damaged part of the barn to get to the horses, which took more than two hours.
“We utilized saws, cribbing material and other stabilization tools,” Schiessl said.
One of the three horses had to be put down, one was being treated by a veterinarian and the other was not seriously injured, he said.
The barn’s website says it specializes in harness racing horses and has a 42-stall main barn and 16 horse sheds. A phone message was left at the farm Thursday.
In Portland, a building housing a waste transfer station collapsed and a vacant building partially collapsed due to the weight of snow, First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield said. There were no injuries.
Wallingford officials say part of a restaurant collapsed and authorities responded to a gas leak there. A daycare center was evacuated because of concerns of a potential collapse that never happened, and there was a report of a house roof collapse. No injuries were reported.
The National Weather Service reported that the storm dumped 19 inches of snow in Stafford, 18.5 inches in North Haven, 18 inches in New Canaan and 15 inches in Middletown.
Connecticut Light & Power reported only about 200 power outages out of 1.2 million customers Thursday afternoon, down from a high of about 13,000 in the early morning. United Illuminating said it had about 50 outages in the New Haven and Bridgeport areas. Schools were closed across the state.
State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said troopers had responded to more than 1,700 calls and nearly 160 accidents, including seven with minor injuries, since snow began falling Wednesday morning.
Vance said cars were stranded for several hours overnight on a section of the Merritt Parkway in southwestern Connecticut after a tree fell onto the highway. Troopers checked on the motorists until the road was cleared.
Connecticut banned tractor-trailers from the highways until 10 a.m. Thursday to ease plowing efforts, and Gov.
Dannel P. Malloy told nonessential state workers not to report to work until noon. He said state highways were cleared by early Thursday afternoon.
“It was messy out there, but I think people responded well,” he said.
In Fairfield at 7 a.m., about a dozen people waited in the cold on a snowy station platform for a train. Although Metro North had suspended all service from New Haven to New York at that time, the commuters were there just in case the trains began running again.
Mark Lundvall of Fairfield, who works at UBS financial services in Manhattan, had gotten up to catch the 5:55 a.m. train, but heard on the radio that there was no service and shoveled his driveway instead. Then he heard a train horn in the distance, figured the trains were running and drove to the station.
“It turned out to be a false alarm,” he said. An empty southbound train had gone through the station but did not stop.
The first train to New York finally arrived at 10:45 a.m.
Emergency planning officials were concerned about Friday morning, when school buses could be rolling again and hundreds of thousands of children will be back at bus stops that could be hard to spot because of huge snow piles.
“We really are encouraging people get the shovel and see if they can knock that down so you and other drivers have a clear line of sight,” Vance said.
Associated Press writers Stephanie Reitz and Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn., Stephen Singer in Manchester, Conn., and Brian Friedman in Fairfied, Conn., contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)