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Seven deaths blamed on storm, Malloy says

By Johanna Somers

Publication: TheDay.com

Published February 11. 2013 8:00PM   Updated February 12. 2013 7:09PM

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that seven people have died and 16 roofs have collapsed in Connecticut since the start of the blizzard.

“I remain very concerned about the possibility of roof collapse,” he said.

Malloy announced that more National Guard troops and heavy equipment are expected to arrive shortly to help with snow removal.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is working with other states’ transportation departments to bring more personnel here, said Bill Shea, deputy commissioner of the Department of Emergency Service and Public Protection. The increase is not only to deal with the cleanup but prepare for another possible storm at the end of the week, Malloy said.

The people who died during the storm were: a 53-year-old Bridgeport man who was found dead, an 80-year-old Prospect woman who was struck by a car, a 73-year-old Danbury man who fell off a porch, a 49-year-old Shelton man who was hit by a car, a 53-year-old New Milford man who had a heart attack and a 21-year old man and 18-year-old woman who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Meriden.

The roof collapses have been primarily at residential properties. Malloy said he had continued to see roof damage due to rain and melting snow as he traveled throughout the state on Monday.

An additional 25 National Guard soldiers were to arrive from a neighboring state Monday night with large trucks used to scoop snow, Shea said. To give some emergency personnel a break, 28 National Guard soldiers will be arriving today from Pennsylvania, he said. The Red Horse National Guard airmen unit, which specializes in heavy construction, is also expected to arrive today, he said. This unit will include 50 airmen and will bring with it heavy equipment such as loaders, backhoes and bobcats, he said.

There are currently 250 National Guardsmen already working throughout the state, Malloy said.

Utility companies have also agreed to release some of their contractors and snow plowing equipment to the state so it can make this equipment available to municipalities. The transportation department has also cut back on its use of equipment to make it available to local municipalities.

State road workers were sent home Sunday night to sleep but were back on the roads Monday night, Malloy said. The workers had been averaging three-hour breaks for the past few days, so the governor approved the decision to let them sleep, he said.

Because this is the fifth natural disaster declaration in two years, Malloy said more equipment and infrastructure planning was needed.

Local governments will get to benefit from Malloy’s early request for a presidential emergency declaration, he said.

“I wanted communities to feel free to spend as much as they could as quickly as they could and getting as much progress made and a number of local officials are appreciative that we got that early start,” Malloy said.

Municipalities, state agencies and eligible nonprofits will get to pick a 48-hour period for which 75 percent of the cost of emergency protective measures will be reimbursed by the federal government, according to a press release.

Most universities will be reopening today and state employees will be back to work on Wednesday, Malloy said.

j.somers@theday.com

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