WALLINGFORD — John Argo and his grandson Giovanni Argo were watching the sky darken Tuesday from a bedroom window at 103 Pond Hill Road when two trees crashed across the driveway and front lawn.
“We heard a loud bang and saw some sparks,” John Argo said.
Argo’s pickup truck parked in the driveway was reduced to crumpled metal.
Seconds later, they heard another bang and water was pouring into a rear bedroom. “The tree is in my room,” said Giovanni Argo.
Three large trees had hit the Argos’ property within minutes after the sky darkened. Both doorways into the home were blocked by large limbs and branches. No one was injured.
After the storm cleared, Argo contacted his insurance company to report that the family was trapped in their home. Contractors arrived to clear the access, and they put a tarp over the hole in the bedroom roof. The family spent the night in a hotel. Power was restored to the neighborhood at 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Argo’s neighbors on Cardinal Drive were mainly spared severe damage.
“The whole force caught on the corner,” John Argo said.
Sebastian Garcia, project manager for Green Construction and Restoration, used two large cranes and directed workers in buckets to clear the felled trees in Argo’s house and yard. The next step was to get the third tree out of his grandson’s bedroom and start the wall and roof repair.
“The house is livable,” Argo said. “Now it’s a big cost and inconvenience. After all those years of paying for insurance, now they’re going to pay us.”
Much of the storm damage throughout town appeared to hopscotch through neighborhoods and concentrate the heaviest damage onto one property, Garcia said. Single property damage was reported on South Main Street, Cedar Street and South Whittlesey Avenue.
But in the southeast corner of the town, areas such as Northfield Road, Sylvan Way and Saw Mill Road revealed multiple homes in the same neighborhoods with serious damage.
Mail carrier Tom Wojtonik parked his mail truck at the caution tape on Quigley Road. A tree on a downed power line prevented Wojtonik from delivering to several homes. Customers who lived on closed roads throughout town will have to wait until crews can clear the lines.
“They aren’t going to get their mail,” he said. “Probably tomorrow.”
Curiosity seekers parked their cars along the driveway to Wharton Brook State Park on Wednesday to get out and take pictures of hundreds of sheared and uprooted trees.
Duke Millican, a Wallingford resident, has fished at the park for 45 years.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” he said, strolling the limb-covered grounds to the pond. “It’s going to take months of cleanup.”
Public schools were closed Wednesday, so Lou Vollono took his three children to Wharton Brook to teach them how to scrutinize the damage to learn what happened. He and other curious residents pointed to a 20-foot-high row of clean breaks and explained how the force of the wind snapped the trees before they could bend.
“Sadly these pine trees,” Vollano said, “are always the ones that get hit the worst.”
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