Mayor Bill Finch joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal as he stopped in Bridgeport Thursday morning to obtain an up-close look at the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. “After being hit with a storm unlike any we’ve seen in the City’s recent past, we’re happy to show Sen. Blumenthal the progress we’ve made thus far in our recovery efforts,” said Mayor Finch.”Bottom-line for Bridgeport: leadership was performed and produced. Leadership that was matched by the community; the volunteers, the Red Cross, community organizations all came through, with the police, fire, emergency responders. It is a great story of people coming together in a common cause and I want to particularly thank Mayor Finch for his leadership at a time of adversity,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “I’ve been all around the state, Bridgeport performance was unexcelled in the way it protected its people and produced leadership for its citizens.”
During the City of Bridgeport’s door-to-door mandatory evacuation efforts, approximately 13,000 residents or 4,700 households were reached by the team of 135 fire, police, city officials and other volunteers. The City’s two shelters, Bassick and Harding High Schools housed nearly 700 evacuees including 18 dogs, two cats and a turtle. The City of Bridgeport assisted with the delivery of 3,108 meals, 1,500 snacks and 1,172 bottles of water to locations that large numbers of functional and access needs residents resided.
After a briefing at the City’s Emergency Operations Center, Sen. Blumenthal joined Mayor Finch, City officials and emergency personnel staff on a boat ride through Bridgeport Harbor to view damage caused by Hurricane Irene.The storm, which hit at astronomical high tide on Sunday, left Seaside Park and much of the South End under several feet of water after dropping 6.5 inches of rain on the City and clocking top winds of 60 mph at Sikorsky Airport. More than 120 streets suffered some form of storm damage ranging from flooding, to downed trees and/or wires. At one point during the storm, 35,000 UI customers were without electrical service. As Thursday morning, approximately 3,200 households are still without electrical service. Pre-assessment damage costs are estimated to be nearly $10 million dollars.
In his remarks on Thursday, Sen. Blumenthal pledged to, “fight as long and hard as necessary for funds to compensate Bridgeport and every city and town in the state of Connecticut for losses we’ve sustained.”
Mayor Finch added, “I’m confident that Sen. Blumenthal, along U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, will do everything he can to secure the necessary federal aid for those who have felt the impact of Irene in their homes and neighborhoods.”