EAST PROVIDENCE — Noting that things aren’t exactly business as usual, East Providence Fire Department Chief Joseph Klucznik and the rest of the city’s top officials said the ripple effects of Hurricane Sandy are only just starting to be felt as of mid-day Monday, Oct. 29.
At about 1 p.m., Chief Klucznik said there are not yet any reports of widespread power outages in East Providence. There was one instance of significance in the Village Park area earlier Monday morning. A National Grid crew was called to the scene.
Also, an electrical wire fell on a metal fence in the Rumford section of the city. Once again, a National Grid crew was called and was working to rectify the situation.
“Nothing earth-shattering has happened yet, but we’re ready. We’re hunkered down here at our EMS Center in Station 3,” Chief Klucznik said by phone earlier Monday afternoon. He was positioned with Wayne Barnes, the city’s Deputy EMA Director, Police Chief Joseph Tavares, City Manager Peter Graczykowski and Finance Director Malcolm Moore in the Rumford location.
“We’re doing pretty good so far, but business is starting to pick up,” Chief Klucznik added.
The EPFD has doubled its workforce in anticipation of Sandy’s potential high winds and flooding. Chief Klucznik has ordered one truck crew specifically to be outfitted with chain saws to clear out any debris at emergency locations during the storm.
As with most coastal areas around the state, East Providence officials are most concerned with the impending high tide occurrence at 8:36 p.m. Monday. It’s expected to be one of the most trying periods of the storm.
“We are very concerned about high tide. The forecast is also calling for high winds and gusts around 70 miles per hour. We’re certainly keeping our eye on the low-lying areas of the city. We’re monitoring the whole situation very closely,” Chief Klucznik said.
The city is using two locations as evacuation centers for those residents who must leave their homes. The main shelter in the city is located at the Senior Center on Waterman Avenue. It opens up this afternoon at 3 p.m. Also, for those residents of the Riverside section in need, East Providence has teamed with Barrington for use of the Primrose Elementary School located on Middle Highway.