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Hamden’s tornado recovery continues for some homeowners

HAMDEN - While Sleeping Giant State Park is expected to reopen next month for the first time since it was completely re-shaped by a last May’s tornado, some residents in Hamden may be dealing with storm damage beyond that.

Sue and David Bennett, who live on the northern end of Shepherd Avenue, said on Wednesday that May 15 of this year is so much more pleasant than last year

“It was a nightmare, in all honesty, emotionally and physically,” said Sue Bennett. “It was a bad thing.”

“I knew no one was coming,” said David Bennett. “So, you have to take charge on your own. I got my chainsaw going.”

FOX61 reached the Bennett’s two days after the tornado, because Sheppard Avenue was blocked by fallen trees, one of which hit a car driven by a woman, who had her baby with her. Both were uninjured.

They tell us that we were the first humans they had seen since the tornado struck. And, it took them until fall to restore their home.

“The house looks brand new,” said a smiling David Bennett. “So, there is the upside.”

And, with fewer trees come surprises, like blossoming rhododendrons along there driveway.

“It’s the first time in the 25 years we’ve lived here that they’ve blossomed because it was always shaded,” David Bennett said.

The landscape of this area is very different,” said Mayor Curt Leng (D-Hamden).

We met up with Leng along Still Hill Road, which was one of the hardest hit streets in town.

“When you have a storm that is that powerful come through and take down 2,000 trees that were town street trees and neighborhood trees, it’s going to have an impact on an area,” Leng said.

He says over 200 homes in Hamden were damaged by fallen trees.

“There’s one family that had a quote of $60,000 for the tree repair alone,” Leng added.

A couple that lives in a home off of Still Hill Rd., on October Hill Rd., still won’t be back in their home for a couple of months.

“As we were getting into the basement is when one of the trees came through our living room ceiling and we kind of went down there and hunkered down and sat down there for about an hour,” said homeowner James Cifarelli.

While the town has replaced some 30 trees so far, they have many many more to go.
Storm cleanup cost the town almost $3 million and Leng expects to receive at least $2 million in federal reimbursement.

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