Easthampton still recovering from Wednesday’s microburst

Route 141 in Easthampton will most likely be closed until Friday

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – On Route 141, the main stretch of road to get into Easthampton, cleanup crews made a lot of progress Thursday, but they’ll have another late night Friday clearing trees and making sure utilities are working again.

The sound of chainsaws filled the streets as crews cleared the mess leftover from Wednesday’s microburst. Police officers steered drivers in a different direction, while utility workers rewired cables for Easthampton residents.

“We’re working on spicing some fiber, it’s for networks to get back up, and then the other end of the cable has to get fixed also; so whenever they’re down with that, hopefully by the end of the night so we’re not here the whole night,” said Kyle Fernandez of Phoenix Communications.

Cleanup crews worked overtime, hauling heavy trees into trucks, and working cautiously every step of the way. Bill Barbeau said, “If a tree is leaning against another tree and if that tree is bent over, when you cut it, it could snap back and take your head off. You don’t want to be inexperienced with a chain saw working in a storm like this because it could get bad really quick.”

On Hendrick Street, one man’s property had seven large pine trees before the microburst came and ripped them out of the ground. “I looked out the window, in the bedroom and the trees were all sideways, and I said ‘oh this isn’t good;’ and I was about ready to wake up my wife and get down to the cellar, and everything stopped, so it was probably over in a minute or so,” said Bill Grims of Easthampton.

Residents told 22News it’s a day they won’t soon forget, even after the physical damage has been cleaned up.

Easthampton’s Fire Chief David Motter told 22News Mountain Road will remain closed through the night, and possibly all day Friday, until town officials are confident it’s safe. Hendrick Street was reopened Wednesday night; Chief Motter said crews were there until 11:00 p.m.

The Chief added that the three houses with damage from the microburst are the only houses in Easthampton that still may not have electricity. Electricians first have to clear those houses before they can turn their electricity back on for safety reasons.

“Verizon and Western Massachusetts Electric Company are working in unison. They are setting new poles and starting to string wire, and they will be followed by Charter and a Fiber Optic Company that is replacing fiber optic lines as well,” said Chief Motter earlier Thursday evening.

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