Crews continue to clear debris, restore power

Edge Hill Road in Warwick (WPRI/Marilyn Schairer)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The cleanup from a brief, but powerful storm that devastated parts of Southern New England entered its third day Thursday.

Crews were out in droves working to clear debris and restore power to residents. Many have been without electricity since early Tuesday morning, when heavy rain and winds tore through the area, leaving behind a mess of downed trees, utility poles and power lines.

As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, 5,226 National Grid customers are still waiting to have their power restored, down from approximately 121,000 on Tuesday.

The city of Warwick bore the brunt of the fast-moving storm, with some residents getting hit with thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Streets in the Governor Francis Farms section of the city were hit hard.

“This looked like they left it to the cities of Warwick and Cranston – and now the state is trying to play catch up,” said Bob Rousseau of Warwick.

“It’s pretty confusing down here. It’s unbelievable,” said Paul Renehan, who was visiting his son and grandchildren from Swansea.

Photos: Aftermath of Aug. 4 storm »
Photos: Aftermath of Aug. 4 storm »

Renehan said he was stunned by all the damage as he walked around Squantum Drive.

“Trees on top of cars, trees on houses, busted through roofs – I can’t believe it. I never saw anything like this before,” he said. “Even the worst hurricane, I think this is worse than that.”

And trees are the real problem, according to David Graves of National Grid.

“Trees are the issues – you got to get the trees out of the way,” he said.

One Warwick family moved their baby from a room in their home minutes before a tree impaled the structure. Luckily, no one was injured.

Gov. Gina Raimondo and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian toured the Governor Francis neighborhood Wednesday to assess the damage.

Mayor Avedisian announced Thursday that WestBay Community Action’s food pantry is stocked with emergency food supplies for residents impacted by the storm.

Warwick police continue to monitor traffic in the areas where crews are repairing power lines.

The Warwick Senior Center remains closed Thursday, however the McDermott pool is back open and running on its regular schedule. The city said trash and recycling pickup will also be on its regular schedule.

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