Submitted photos by Derek Sterling, Melissa Conti, Angela Bulkley Julie Miller and Trumbull Volunteer Fire Co. #1
In 43 years living in Trumbull, much of that as a volunteer firefighter, Long Hill Fire Chief Alex Rauso has never seen anything like Tuesday’s flooding in town.
“From Madison Avenue to Trumbull Center, it started raining hard about 4 p.m., and then everything flooded,” Rauso said.
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The rain had fallen steadily all day, which soaked the ground. Then when the skies opened the water had nowhere to go and quickly backed up the storm drains, Rauso said.
“The three fire departments responded to more than 80 emergency calls between 4 and 9:30 p.m.,” Rauso said. “Trumbull Center rescued 15 people from their homes, Long Hill had to evacuate 30 people from the Old Town Road area because there was 4-6 feet of water.”
The departments also had to rescue dozens of people from cars that were caught up in the fast-moving floodwaters, Rauso said.
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“Every low-lying area or stream bed flooded,” he said. “You can’t believe how much radio chatter there was, it was hard to know who was where for a while.”
One of the most dramatic incidents in town occurred in Trumbull Center, as firefighter Alex Relkin waded into waist deep water to assist a Postal Service employee, whose truck had gotten stuck in the floodwater. She had climbed onto the vehicle’s roof for safety and the two were able to walk to safety.
“The emergency water rescue crew was there, but we didn’t need it,” Relkin said.
The flooding closed numerous businesses in town, and forced the cancellation of a school board meeting. Trumbull High was forced to close Wednesday due to flooding inside the building, said Supt. Gary Cialfi.
“There was a tremendous amount of water coming into the school, in the auditorium, water was flowing down the stairs and was eight inches deep at the foot of the stage,” Cialfi said.
School staff worked through the night and managed to prevent water from destroying the gym floor, Cialfi said. There has been no decision on whether the school can reopen Thursday.
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“Right now were are running industrial dehumidifiers and ventilating the building, because once the water is out we don’t want to have any problems in the future,” he said. “All the carpeting that was soaked has to be pulled up, too.”
The other schools all had a delayed opening, mostly to verify with the school system’s bus provider that the roads were safe.
“Other than Trumbull High, the other schools are all OK,” Cialfi said. “The delay was just a precaution until we could see what the road conditions were like in the light of day.”