Three Killed, But Connecticut Spared Worst Of Sandy's Wrath; Travel Ban Lifted

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Dan Malloy said Superstorm Sandy is over and the state has now begun the process of assessing damage and getting lives back to normal.

On Tuesday night, Malloy directed all state employees to work on Wednesday at their usual time.  A release from the governor’s office said employees in areas hit by flooding or power outages should “contact their agency work location for facility status, alternate work assignments, or other directions.”

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LISTEN: WCBS 880 With Gov. Malloy

But despite the return of some normalcy, Superstorm Sandy proved deadly in Connecticut.

In Easton, a firefighter died when the truck he was riding in was hit by a tree before 6 p.m. Monday.

A 90-year old Mansfield woman was killed and two family members were seriously injured when a tree fell on them. The family had lost power and was trying to make its way to the home of a neighbor who still had electricity, said Lt. J. Paul Vance.

The body of a missing man has been recovered in Milford, bringing the state’s death toll from superstorm Sandy to three.

The Coast Guard says the body of 34-year-old Brian Bakunas of Milford was recovered by town police on Tuesday.

Police say Bakunas jumped from a pier during the storm at about 8 p.m. Monday night and was last seen swimming in the heavy surf.

Malloy asked those trapped in shoreline areas to hang white sheets or towels from their windows, something reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina.

Malloy lifted the travel ban put in place on Monday.

On Monday, facing severe weather from Hurricane Sandy, Malloy had ordered a truck ban, followed by the closure of the state’s limited access highways to non-emergency vehicles.

“Use your heads when it comes to driving. If a road appears impassable because of water, downed wires, fallen trees or other debris, do not attempt to drive through it,” Malloy said in a statement.

WCBS 880 reporter Paul Murnane had been making his way around the state, which he described as difficult at best.

Street signals were working in downtown Stamford, but parts of the city prone to flooding were evacuated Monday night.

Bridgeport was mostly spared by Sandy, according to Malloy.

“There’s no doubt that turning that system off, putting all of our efforts into making sure that the system, the substations were not impacted adversely will allow us to restore energy much more rapidly than we would have otherwise been in a position to do,” Malloy said in a Tuesday morning news conference.

In Greenwich this morning, there were a lot of downed trees. At least two homes were destroyed by fire in Old Greenwich and firefighters were hampered by four feet of water in the road there.

Metro-North Railroad service is still suspended.

Connecticut utility workers were taking to the roads and air as they assess the damage done by Superstorm Sandy.

Company officials said more than 500,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers and 187,000 United Illuminating customers lost power in the storm.

Neither utility would say Tuesday when they expected to have power fully restored.

CL&P senior vice president Bill Quinlan said the immediate priority will be clearing roads, assessing damage and setting up staging areas for the restoration effort.

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UI senior vice president Tony Marone says there was some good news. Workers were able to keep floodwaters away from critical equipment at three Bridgeport substations. He says that means customers served by those could be back online later Tuesday.

There are a great many people who are grateful that their homes are intact.

State environmental and health officials are warning that flood waters from superstorm Sandy in several towns may be contaminated because of raw sewage discharges from treatment plants and pumping stations.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says flooding and power outages caused raw sewage discharges in Branford, Bridgeport, East Lyme, Greenwich, New Hartford and New Haven.

The agency says 26 of the 89 treatment plants in the state and 264 pumping stations are running on emergency power.

Officials said there are no cleanup plans because raw sewage breaks down and gets diluted in large bodies of water. But they advise people to stay away from flood waters and assume they’re contaminated.

Malloy quipped that people should avoid eating clams and oysters from Long Island Sound.

WATCH: Video Of Malloy’s News Conference

The commanding officer at Connecticut’s Naval Submarine Base said it suffered only minor damage from superstorm Sandy.

The base in Groton is currently open for only essential personnel but the commanding officer, Capt. Marc Denno, said it is expected to be fully open on Wednesday.

Denno said Tuesday the storm surge came up slightly higher than expected and spilled over some lower piers, but it did not come close to breeching barriers at the lower base.

Officials said the damage was limited to battered road signs, fallen branches and one toppled utility pole.

The base had considered sending the in-port attack submarines out to sea ahead of the storm, but Navy officials decided against that based on the forecast.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane: Frustration In Darien

At the Noroton Yacht Club in Darien, 25 and 30-foot boats are piled up in a corner of the parking lot.

A few blocks away, Luke and Briony Raymond couldn’t believe how close the water came to the first floor of their home.

“The tide started coming in and it came in really really fast,” Luke told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.

“When you actually watch it happening and you watch your yard filling and it was swirling in,” Briony said.

There’s a long and frustrating history in Darien when it comes to power restoration after storms.

First Selectwoman Jayme Stevenson noted the severity of this one and won’t offer a guess as to when restoration will happen.

“For the safety of our residents and the people who are actually doing the restoration work, it has to happen in a certain sequence,” she said.

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