In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, January 29, a driver on Mountain Road dozed, ran his SUV off the road, and broke a utility pole just east of the entrance to Park View Glen, across from Suffield Middle School. He was injured and transported to a hospital. The momentary perturbation in electrical power was felt at SMS and McAlister and briefly affected homes nearby on the north side of Mountain Road. Both schools opened normally.
But the pole was key to power and communications to a large part of Park View Glen, and several dozen homes in the eastern part of the condo community lost their connections. The residents, some of them elderly, awoke to cold homes, but the Suffield Emergency Management system responded well, as did Eversource, the electric power supplier. This was not a major incident, but the subsequent activity seemed in many ways like a nice example of good work.
Police officers, firemen, and ambulance volunteers went from house to house, checking to see if help was needed, including opening garage doors for those who might otherwise have been trapped at home. The Senior Center was offered as a warming place, no one showed up.
Eversource immediately began the task of replacing their pole. More importantly that morning, the company brought a number of auxiliary power units and hooked one up to each of the transformers serving individual clusters of the condo homes, so power was out for only a few hours, though it was well into Wednesday before the installation of the new pole was completed. Several employees were assigned the task of monitoring the continued operation of the units, which were gone by Thursday morning.
Frontier Communication’s land line phone, TV, and Internet service was also cut off by the pole’s fall. This affected many more homes of the Park View Glen complex, and the repairs took somewhat longer. Cox service to the eastern part of Park View Glen was similarly troubled, but the western part is served from Remington Street, so that wasn’t affected.
Suffield’s Emergency Manager Art Groux, whose full-time job is managing the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association, said of the Town response: “This was a great example of everyone working well together.” Fire Chief Charles Flynn made essentially the same comment. First Selectman Melissa Mack added later, “We’re lucky to have capable emergency services personnel who are committed to serving the town.”