Sandy recovery: Focus shifts to picking up, lighting up in the Berkshires


Tuesday October 30, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The focus in the Berkshires quickly shifted to post-Sandy recovery on Tuesday, as communities all over the county began cleaning up the damage left by the superstorm. Utility crews were working to retore power to the nearly 10,000 homes and businesses without it in the Berkshires.

In Pittsfield, emergency management officials met with Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi on Tuesday morning to assess the damage and review cleanup efforts.

Nearly 20 trees came down in the city during the storm. Houses were damaged by fallen trees on Westwood Road and Chapel Street, according to Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Robert Czerwinski.

City crews are spending the day removing trees from city property. Officials warned residents to stay away from fallen trees because electrical wires may still be entangled within them that are not visible to the eye. Anyone with doubts should call either 911 or the Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

WMECO is asking residents and motorists to stay away from downed power lines, always assuming that they are live.

The city received 42 calls for assistance Monday night, with 36 of them storm-related, according to Czerwinski.

Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bower said 800 calls from across the county were received at the Sheriff's Communications Center in Pittsfield.

High winds Monday night damaged communication towers on Oak Hill and Lenox Mountain, but those problems were handled by employees.

Pittsfield's Highway Department crews will remove downed limbs and branches from private property if the storm debris is pulled to the front of the yard. Crews will begin canvassing the city, quadrant by quadrant, beginning on Thursday and continuing for a week. The mayor's office will announce each day where crews will be so that city residents can be prepared in advance.

City residents also have the option of cutting branches and limbs into four-foot sections, then bundling them and leaving them out for when trash pickup is scheduled.

Trees that fall on private property must be handled by private contractors.

Halloween in Pittsfield will be held as scheduled between 5 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday.


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