WOODBURY – A large tree along Transylvania Road took down several primary lines Sunday night, causing widespread power outages and a loss of wireless internet vital for those working from home or distance learning for schools.
The 10 p.m. incident appeared to have impacted Woodbury exclusively, Woodbury Police said. Power was restored by noon Monday, but internet service and Verizon cell reception for many remained out into the evening hours.
Woodbury Police officer Alex Roberts said that when the tree fell it “yanked down” lines for power, cable, telephone and internet. As many as 10 utility poles were affected with four actually coming down.
Police said the loss of power to the Verizon tower on Bears Hill Road caused the cell phone problems.
“It took down everything. It took out the main feed for Spectrum that feeds the town of Woodbury and also the phones so people couldn’t call 911 if they had to,” Roberts said.
Utility crews were on the scene within 20 minutes, and a stream of trucks arrived throughout the night and for much of Monday.
“We had 10 Eversource trucks here, five Spectrum trucks. Everybody has been here trying to get it going,” Roberts said.
Most of the power outages occurred in the southwestern part of town and much of it was restored by late morning.
Region 14 schools announced Monday morning that there would be no attendance penalties for students who were unable to log on to their online classrooms.
Superintendent Joseph Olzacki said there were only a handful of students who had issues getting online
Brian Mohls, a Nonnewaug High School student who lives along Birchwood Lane near where the tree fell, said was unable to log on for school Monday morning.
“He can’t use his chrome book because there’s no wi-fi, so I guess he’ll go outside and play soccer until it comes back on,” his mom, Susan, said Monday morning. “It’s just one more thing to add to what has been a heck of a year.”
Ashley Kenney said she drove her sixth-grade son to Panera Bread in Southbury so that he could access the wi-fi. Laura Thomas said her daughters drove to Starbucks in Southbury so they could log on.
Woodbury First Selectman Barbara Perkinson said her office received numerous calls from residents trying to find out what had happened.
Woodbury Town Hall never lost power or internet, but the library next door did not have wi-fi because, according to Director Sue Piel, it works off a separate server, which was down. Piel said her staff had to turn away numerous residents looking to use the library’s wi-fi.