Storm leaves plenty of work for crews in Orange, Warwick

  • A scene from last week’s storm on North Main Street in Orange. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/MARCIA GAGLIARDI

Published: 10/22/2019 11:10:32 PM

Days without power, school closures and downed trees, wires and debris were just some of the effects of last week’s storm.

The Oct. 16 storm brought winds of up to 50 mph and left lasting damage, particularly across Orange and Warwick, where local crews and National Grid still have plenty of work to do.

“It’s been one of the bigger ones,” said Orange Highway Superintendent Colin Killay, recalling just a few storms in recent memory that caused such destruction — like the 2008 ice storm in Athol and Hurricane Irene’s impact on Franklin County in 2011.


Orange was hit hard with high winds, particularly in the northern part of town, Killay said. His six-person crew worked throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday to clean up, working alongside the Fire Department, Police Department and National Grid utility crews.

Downed lines and trees kept several roads closed, Killay said, and it wasn’t until Saturday that trees were completely removed from the roads.

According to National Grid, 2,121 out of 4,013 customers in Orange were without power Thursday, with many in town remaining that way for several days. An emergency center was set up at the Orange Armory for residents with medical devices needing power. Orange schools were also closed for two days.

Electricity was restored to all but three homes by Monday, according to the Orange Police Department, and utility crews continue to check wires and inspect nearby trees.

While much of the immediate work is done, Killay said there is still a lot to clean up. He is hopeful that all debris will be cleared by next Tuesday, but it will take longer to take down about a dozen trees that still need to be cut.

Killay estimates it will be another two to three weeks before all work related to the storm is done, depending on the weather. There have also been calls about sewer problems, he said, adding to the work.

“It seems that anything that could come up is coming up,” Killay said.

A resident of Warwick, Killay said that town was also “hammered” by the storm. Still, it could have been worse.

“We could have had more damage and it could have been 20 below,” he said.


Starting at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, members of the Police and Fire departments worked through the weekend and into this week to clean up and repair dozens of scenes where trees or wires had fallen and roads were blocked.

According to the Warwick Police Department, extensive damage was found in a right of way that required the department’s track machine, utility poles and several transformers. As of Tuesday, Town Coordinator David Young said progress had been made to repair Warwick’s broadband and telephone services.

“About half the internet is up,” Young said. “In general, I’m hearing from people saying their phones are working.”

Parts of town were damaged by the high winds and heavy rain. One home on Route 78 was hit by a tree and the extensive damage made the home unsafe for living for the time being. This resident is staying with family, Young said.

Students from the Warwick Community School were relocated to Pioneer Valley Regional School while the town makes sure the Warwick school is safe to return to. For Pioneer students, pick-up time at Town Hall is 7:10 a.m. For Warwick Community School students, pick-up time is 8:20 a.m. for transportation to Pioneer. All students will be dismissed from Pioneer at 2:30 p.m. and will be dropped off at Town Hall at around 3 p.m.

“The phone lines and internet are still down, and with no cell service, there is no way to call out if an emergency arises,” Scagel said of Warwick’s situation on Monday. “Our sprinkler system is also tied to the phone lines, and is not operational at this time.”

A message from National Grid stated that 182 homes in Warwick were still without power through Sunday. Power did not return to homes or town municipal buildings in Warwick until mid-afternoon Monday, nearly five days after the storm.

According to updates from the Warwick Police Department’s Facebook page, numerous roads, including Northfield Road, Orange Road, Quarry Road, Old Winchester Road and more were left fully or partially closed to traffic through Saturday. Route 78 through Warwick remained closed most of the weekend and a detour had to be established to allow travel between Orange and Winchester, N.H. Due to low-hanging wires and branches, large trucks were not allowed on the detour route.

Reach David McLellan at or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.

Reach Zack DeLuca at or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.

Greenfield Recorder

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Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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