Reporting Paul Murnane
BRIDGEPORT, CT (AP / WCBS 880) - Gov. Dan Malloy says he is pressing the federal government to help Connecticut assess damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane With Malloy In Bridgeport And Fairfield
The governor says he met with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and urged them to begin reviewing damage to infrastructure and other local concerns. The U.S. government declared an emergency in the state before Irene made landfall.
Malloy visited Bridgeport, Stamford and Fairfield on Tuesday to look at the impact of the storm that knocked out power to more than half of Connecticut and was blamed for two deaths in the state.
More than 400,000 homes and businesses were without power, down from a Sunday peak of more than 770,000.
Connecticut businesses damaged by Tropical Storm Irene are eligible for financial assistance from the state.
The state says business can apply for loans covering uninsured losses. Loans of up to $200,000 are available to companies for storm-related damage to property, machinery and equipment.
Grants will be available to businesses for help with disaster recovery, such as temporary help and training and technical assistance linking businesses to state and federal resources.
Agricultural businesses are eligible for the money.
Assistance is available through the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
About 185 Connecticut National Guardsmen are continuing to help cities and towns with food and water distribution and debris removal in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
Col. John Whitford of the Guard said Tuesday that troops are at Rentschler Field in East Hartford unloading food and water from delivery trucks and loading the items back into trucks bound for shelters across the state.
Whitford says guardsmen are also in East Haven and East Lyme clearing trees and other debris to give utility crews access to damaged power lines and components. He says he expects troops to be deployed in other towns to help with debris removal during the week.
More than 300 other guardsmen are on standby in case they are needed.
Federal officials are sampling water from six rivers along the East Coast to see if the hurricane that became a tropical storm drew harmful substances from sewage into the rivers.
The U.S. Geological Survey says it is taking samples from the Charles River near Watertown, Mass., Connecticut River at Thompsonville, Conn., Delaware River at Trenton, N.J., Hudson River near Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Raritan River at Bound Brook, N.J., and Susquehanna River at Conowingo, Md.
Charles Crawford, coordinator at the agency’s National Stream Quality Accounting Network, said Tuesday that intense rainfalls, such as what Irene brought over the weekend, often overwhelms sewers that overflow and discharge raw sewage and rainwater into rivers.
Water is being sampled for pesticides, E. coli and sediment.
Crawford says preliminary data will likely be available in six weeks to two months.
FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino visited Connecticut and New Jersey on Tuesday to tour storm damage by helicopter and meet with local officials and first responders.
The hurricane moved up the East Coast over the weekend and has been blamed for the deaths of at least 40 people in 12 states.
Four submarines that the Navy sent out to sea for their protection from Tropical Storm Irene were coming back to their base in Connecticut. The four Los Angeles-class attack submarines were in port for maintenance when they were ordered to sea as Irene bore down on the East Coast as a hurricane.
Navy Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge took over command of the submarine group in Groton on Friday, two days before the storm hit Connecticut’s shoreline. He said it was “eye-watering” to see sailors organize to get the submarines out before Irene’s arrival.
A Stratford man who wanted to stay on his boat and ride out Tropical Storm Irene now faces several criminal charges.
The Connecticut Post reports 45-year-old David Zaccaria was arrested after a confrontation with an official at the Port Milford marina on Saturday.
Police say Zaccaria shoved a marina representative to the ground after being told he had to leave his boat. They say he then poured gasoline onto the dock and into the water and threatened to light it with a flare gun.
Zaccaria faces several charges including reckless endangerment, breach of peace, and threatening. He was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Milford Superior Court on Sept. 13. A phone number listed for Zaccaria was temporarily out of service Tuesday.
Fire officials believe candles may have ignited a blaze that destroyed a home in Portland.
Portland fire officials say homeowners told them they had candles burning in a bedroom on the house on Wilcox Road, which was left without power following Tropical Storm Irene.
The fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Nobody was injured, but fire officials say several pets may have perished in the blaze.
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