2012-11-01 / Front Page

The Recovery from the Week That Was

Massive Hurricane Cleanup Continues
Eric Gross

County Executive Mary Ellen Odell called it the "week that was."

Odell's comments came Saturday evening when the Putnam Emergency Operation Center, which had been manned around-the-clock for 144 hours, took a well deserved 24 hour hiatus before reopening at 8 a.m. Monday.

The executive, like thousands of other Putnam residents who lost electric service at home that was not restored until the weekend, thanked the dedicated county employees and dozens of volunteers who worked 12 and 18 hour days to keep the county's 100,000 residents safe.

"We are truly blessed to have such a fine group of men and women who give of themselves so readily. From our police and emergency responders to county commissioners and department heads, county attorneys, Social Services and Office for the Aging staff to amateur ham radio operators, our highly dedicated and professional Bureau of Emergency Services, marvelous highway crews and of course to the utility workers who often took a bad rap but who worked under extremely difficult conditions in getting power restored--thank you; thank you; thank you!" she said.

Most events were cancelled due to Sandy's wrath including the weekend Medication Take Back Day at Putnam Hospital Center and Tuesday's flu vaccination clinic at Brewster High School tabbed "Vote and Vax."

More than 200 utility crews converged on the region from throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. One crew from New Brunswick, Canada called the damage incurred in Carmel "catastrophic. I've been at this game for 20 years and I have never seen such wide-spread destruction," said Paul Myer, one of the utility workers from Canada.

Workers replaced more than 300 broken poles countywide caused by Sandy's hurricane force winds and restrung more than 3,700 utility wires.

The Putnam 911 Dispatch Center answered more than 1,300 calls during the week including 23 dispatches for carbon monoxide problems caused by gasoline powered generators.

The Brewster FD answered 77 alarms during the week with each of Putnam's all volunteer fire departments being summoned anywhere from 13 to 63 alarms.

Gasoline lines were long at many service stations throughout the aftermath of Sandy when supplies dwindled and panic buying set in.

The county opened two emergency shelters in Putnam Valley and Mahopac that allowed individuals who had no electricity and heat at their homes to congregate in safety.

Putnam Director of Emergency Management Thomas Lannon summed up the storm: "Sandy's wrath left us with a week to remember and a week to forget!"

As of 7 p.m. Saturday more than 11,000 NYSEG customers remained without power countywide.

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Weekly Quotation

‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.’ ~Hal Borland