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Connecticut Still A Mess After Irene; More Than 350K Without Power

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Dante Turenzio works on a tree damaged by Irene - New Canaan, CT - Aug 31, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

Dante Turenzio works on a tree damaged by Irene – New Canaan, CT – Aug 31, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

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NEW CANAAN, CT (WCBS 880/AP) - In Connecticut, they’re still cleaning up the mess left behind by Hurricane Irene.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane In New Canaan

New Canaan resident Mike Law has been without power since Sunday, but is keeping a stiff upper lip.

“I thought I was back in the RAF this morning with having a cold shower,” said Law. “When you compare ourselves to Vermont, we’re damn lucky,” he said.

He said he’s leaving for his youngest daughter’s home tonight to get a hot shower.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On Power Restoration

With 75 percent of the town without power, officials says they are actually luckier than most.

Six Connecticut Light & Power crews are on hand restoring power to schools and other high-priority buildings.

There are about three power crews in neighboring towns in Fairfield County and workers from as far away as Missouri.

Power has started to come back for homes and businesses. Selectman-elect Rob Mallozzi says he hopes it’ll be back by Friday or Saturday.

“I’m without power. Most of these volunteers are of course, without power. I think if we can get through the critical priority list that we have today, then we can start making unbelievable progress in the residentials and that should take two or three days,” he said.

The town set up a storm Facebook page hoping to help dispense information, but Mallozzi says it has helped officials get information to them and the emergency operations center.

About 370,000 utility customers in Connecticut remain without power in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

That’s down from a peak of more than 700,000.

Connecticut Light & Power, which had about 308,000 outages remaining Wednesday morning, expects to have more than 1,200 crews working by Friday to restore electricity.

United Illuminating has about 240 crews on the job, restoring power to about 62,000 of its customers who remained in the dark before dawn Wednesday.

Jeffrey D. Butler, president and chief operating officer of CL&P, says the utility’s priority is to restore electricity in town centers and to essential businesses such as gas stations, pharmacies and supermarkets.

Meanwhile, tree removal has also been a priority around the state. Tree man Dante Turenzio says he’s been on 15 jobs since Monday.

“This is a Beach Tree. It’s a beautiful tree. I don’t like to take trees down if you don’t have to,” he said.

Many trees fell victim to the weekend’s storm. Turenzio says you never know what kind of tree will fall in bad weather.

“I was in a tree in Robina Woods in Stamford. It was a big 120-foot Tulip Tree and I had a crane on this job removing the tree. When we knocked it over, there was only a two-inch perimeter around the whole circumference of the tree, holding it up. The whole center was rotted,” he told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.

He was working this morning’s job with a bucket truck pointing out that climbing and cutting, even on a healthy looking tree, can be risky.

How do you feel about Connecticut’s response to Irene? Share you feelings below.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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