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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Only Half of Downtown Businesses Open Thursday Morning

Only Half of Downtown Businesses Open Thursday Morning:
Latest snowfall leaves many sidewalks untended
(Posted to 1/27)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – They were the usual suspects – the hardiest of downtown Fairfield businesses, which, come snow or rain, manage to get their doors open and lights on – often without skipping a beat. They met the latest snowfall challenge – a nor’easter named Denis that dumped up to 15 inches of snow overnight Wednesday into Thursday – with a will to press on to ensure that local residents that ventured out could enjoy their services.

7-Eleven on Reef Road was among those ranks, staying true to its policy of never closing. Said manager Abraham “Gabby” Isho, “We stayed open all night. Every couple of hours we had a plow come through. The lot has been pretty clear despite all the snow, with the exception of one car left out front that’s now buried. We are committed to our 24/7 policy, despite all the snow this year.”

Firehouse Deli, just up the street, was another “storm trooper”, managing to open about an hour later than a usual Thursday morning. Said Assistant Manager Ken Saunders, “I came in from Beacon Falls. The roads were passable but not real safe. They were icy from sleet and freezing rain from the night before. The roads in Fairfield were pretty good. They do a good job here considering all the snow. We opened at 8 a.m. and it’s been slow – mostly snow contractors and a couple regulars.”

Chef’s Table on the Post Road hardly blinked an eye. Stephanie Ficarra, counterperson/cashier, said, “David our chef was here first at 6:30 a.m. He came in from Bridgeport.”

“I found the roads really good,” said the chef.

Commented owner Rich Herzfeld, “I’ve got a guy who plows my driveway and knows I need to get in. Often, I will pick up employees who are stuck.”

Herzfeld added, “David’s road was not plowed, but he went for it. We’re fully staffed and ready to go.”

“We’ve already sold a number of egg sandwiches, to people with laptops going to a meeting,” said Ficarra.

Rite-Aid also fell into step despite the storm. “We opened on time at 8 a.m.,” said sales associate Paul Johnson. “I live down the street but had to walk as my street wasn’t plowed. But our lot was plowed before we opened, which was a plus. We haven’t had many customers though, and our registers are down at the moment, which is a challenge. We’re cash only right now.”

Joining these hardy retailers was The Pantry. “Our bakers arrived at 5:30 a.m. and started working,” said Jenisha Shrestha. “The store opened at 9, which was a little later than usual. I came from Bridgeport. It was really bad there with mountains of snow, not like here in Fairfield. It took me 10 minutes longer than usual to get here.”

Rounding out the pack was new business Companions and Homemakers, a personal care provider at 1618 Post Road. “I came in from Stratford,” said an employee there who didn’t provide her name. “The highways weren’t even plowed. Normally it takes me 20 minutes to get to work. It took me an hour today. We opened on time at 8:30 a.m. and we’re fully staffed.”   

Firefighters Navigate Unplowed Road to Respond to Gas Leak

Firefighters Navigate Unplowed Road to Respond to Gas Leak:
Falling ice suspected as cause of incident
(Posted to 1/27)
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.
By Mike Lauterborn

Fairfield, CT – At 8:05 a.m. Thursday morning, the Fairfield Fire Department received a call from the owner of a home at 128 Smith Street who reported smelling a strong odor of gas. Upon investigation, firefighters determined that falling ice had affected gas service, took measures to stem the leak and contacted Southern Connecticut Gas.

Awaking to over a foot of new snow that had fallen in the Wednesday to Thursday overnight period, the homeowner stepped out to begin digging out.

“As I was brushing off my steps around 7:45 a.m., I smelled fumes,” said the homeowner, who did not want to give her name. “A neighbor and I cleared a furnace exhaust pipe at the back of the house, but we still smelled fumes, so I called 911.”

Navigating her as yet unplowed street, Engines 1, 2 and 3, Ladder 1 and Car 3 were on the scene in minutes.

“The fire department responded very quickly and took things very seriously,” said the homeowner. “They came out in the snow, did a walk through the house, discovered the leak and repaired it.”

Firefighter and shift commander Bob Smith suggested the cause of the leak may have been falling ice that struck the gas meter and said that they tightened a nut on the meter. An SCG technician arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and confirmed that the situation had been mitigated.

As emergency responders began leaving the scene, a town plow came barreling down the road.