CHESHIRE — Heather Meyerjack was in an upstairs bedroom of her Bellamy Road home when Tuesday’s severe thunderstorm sent a large tree crashing into the house.
Fearing for her family’s safety, Meyerjack shouted for everyone to go in the basement. It wasn't until later that the family realized the tree had slammed through the roof and destroyed much of the second floor.
"We're all lucky to be alive," she said Wednesday, standing outside the house which has now been condemned by the town building department, one of two Bellamy Road homes condemned due to storm damage.
Cheshire Fire Chief Jack Casner said the department received 50 calls during the storm. Eleven homes had significant tree damage, and one resident suffered a minor injury after a tree fell on a house.
Emergency dispatchers worked to triage calls from incident to incident.
“If a tree fell down without wires, we worked collectively with police and public works to clear the area,” Casner said.
Cheshire Assistant Town Manager Arnett Talbot said damage was concentrated in the southern part of town. Route 10 was closed near the Cheshire/Hamden town line due to downed trees entangled with power lines.
Cheshire public works worked closely with Eversource Energy crews to clear roads. At one point, about 30 percent of the town was without power, Cheshire Town Council Chairman Rob Oris said.
“The town’s police, fire and public works crews did an exceptional job working to ensure the public safety of residents throughout the night,” Talbot said.
"The crews unfortunately are on a mandatory rest period for now,” Oris said early Wednesday. “We won't see (cleanup) until later today.”
A total cost of damage has not yet been determined.
Just before the tree fell on Bellamy Road, the power had gone out and Meyerjack said it was too dark to see.
On Wednesday, the family was waiting on a crane to lift the tree off the house so workers could begin tarping the roof. In addition to the tree damage, the subsequent rain also caused water damage throughout the home.
"It's a mess," Meyerjack said.
Edward Burzawa, an estimator for Connecticut Reconstruction Services, said the other condemned home on Bellamy has part of the second story leaning in which is particularly concerning. In that case there were no injuries.