UPDATED: New London Residents Return From Regional Shelter

About 60 people evacuated to East Lyme Middle School on Monday after generator problem

Tuesday, 12:56 p.m.

Emergency Management Director Reid Burdick said most of the approximately 60 people who took refuge from Hurricane Sandy in a Red Cross shelter have returned to New London.

Burdick also clarified that the New London shelter, which was at Winthrop School, was evacuated due to potential issues with the generator that could have included a carbon monoxide leak but may have been a result of other problems as well. Burdick said carbon monoxide was not leaking throughout the building as originally reported and the people in the shelter were never in any danger.

Burdick said a trouble light was tripped in the generator room. He said this could have indicated a carbon monoxide leak, but also could have been a result of mechanical or electrical problems with the generator.

The problems with the generator led to the decision to relocate people to the regional shelter at East Lyme Middle School. The residents were safely transported by Senior Center buses on Monday evening.

Burdick said the regional shelter remains open to anyone seeking shelter after the storm, but that any New London residents who wished to return to the city today came back at 11 a.m.

"My understanding was they're all pretty much ready to come home," said Burdick.

Monday night update

A carbon monoxide leak was found at the Winthrop School after the school, which was being used as a shelter, was evacuated due to generator issues.

Mayor Daryl Finizio said the generator was installed with the building, which opened for classes in the second half of the 2011-2012 school year. About 60 residents were relocated to a regional shelter in East Lyme after it was unclear whether the Winthrop School generator could support the Red Cross shelter housed there.

Finizio said that city employees responding to the school found carbon monoxide alarms going off and later confirmed that the gas was leaking throughout the building.

“We’re very glad that we moved everyone,” said Finizio.

Finizio said the residents all safely arrived at the East Lyme shelter.

Original story

About 60 residents who have taken shelter at the Red Cross relocation shelter at the Winthrop School are being evacuated due to a "question of the generator's integrity."

Emergency Management Director Reid Burdick said shelter director Norma Pabon informed him that some power outlets were not working and the lights were dim at the school. Burdick said the precaution is being taken because it is uncertain if there is a problem with the generator and that it would be unsafe to potentially keep residents at the shelter if a power outage occurs later in the evening, when the storm is expected to peak.

"The building may very well be fine, but the question is, is that good enough?" said Burdick.

Mayor Daryl Finizio said the people who have taken refuge there to the Region 4 shelter at East Lyme Middle School. Residents are being taken to the regional shelter in two Senior Center buses under police escort. A trailer of cots is also being taken to the regional shelter.

Finizio ordered a halt to city transportation to the shelter at about 3 p.m. in conjunction with an order to limit police, fire, and Public Works responses to emergency calls only. The decision was made due to high winds and hazardous conditions.

The New London Emergency Operations Center later encouraged people who had not evacuated to remain in their current location, saying road conditions had become too dangerous. However, some residents were evacuated to the shelter after firefighters responded to a tree that fell into a house on Montauk Ave.

The regional shelter will be the site for further evacuations from New London once the storm has passed. Pets are allowed at this shelter. For more information, contact East Lyme Emergency Management at 860-739-4434.

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