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Emergency services kept busy Thursday morning: fires in Weathersfield, Claremont and weather damage

  • A house is trapped under a tree that toppled from strong winds, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Danvers, Mass. (Nic Antaya/The Boston Globe via AP)

  • Vermont Law School students Andie Parnell, left, and Marina Miller say goodbye as Parnell reaches her apartment door in South Royalton, Vt., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • A large branch fell on the roof of a house on Warren Street overnight and knocked down wires and caused damage to the home on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

Staff and wire reports
Published: 10/17/2019 2:50:45 PM
Modified: 10/18/2019 9:10:09 AM

WEATHERSFIELD — Power crews responded throughout the Twin States on Thursday after wind gusts from a nor’easter knocked down tree limbs throughout the region.

Green Mountain Power said more than 20,000 customers were affected in Vermont, many of them on the western side of the Green Mountains. But outages affected Upper Valley towns from Hartford to Woodstock to Strafford as weather advisories warned of wind gusts up to 55 mph into Thursday evening.

In New Hampshire, heavy winds knocked trees across power lines and onto roads, especially in the Grafton and Sunapee regions, where dozens of Eversource customers were without power Thursday afternoon.

Trees were reported down early Thursday on Route 4 at the Orange-Grafton line, along Grist Mill Hill Road and on Route 118 at Orange Road, according to the Canaan Fire Department’s Facebook page.

More extensive outages were seen in southern New Hampshire and in Massachusetts.

A fire destroyed an old farmhouse early Thursday morning in Weathersfield, although fire crews there said they did not believe the blaze was weather-related.

Fire crews responded around 2 a.m. to a report of a fire on 326 Henry Gould Road. When firefighters arrived, they found an old farmhouse with an attached barn engulfed in flames. Homeowner James Bartlett, who was the only person at the house when the fire started, was able to get out in time and sustained a hand injury from the incident, according to Weathersfield Fire Chief Josh Dauphin.

Firefighters were able to get the flames under control around 6 a.m., but the house was deemed uninhabitable following the fire.

Vermont State Police are investigating and the cause is currently undetermined, Dauphin said.

The section of Route 131 closest to the fire was closed until 7 a.m. Thursday as firefighters from Weathersfield and nearby Claremont responded to the fire.

Claremont crews Wednesday night also had been called out for a two-story barn fire at the end of 1st Street, a short dead-end off Washington Street, around 10 p.m. Wednesday, Claremont Fire Chief Bryan Burr said in a news release.

The barn was deemed a total loss, and the fire was called under control around 11 p.m. The cause remains under investigation. The structure had no utilities running to it at the time.

The Claremont Fire Department then responded to various weather-related calls for trees on wires, the release states.

The winds were part of a record-breaking autumn storm that plunged hundreds of thousands of people into the dark, toppled trees, canceled schools and delayed trains in the Northeast. Winds gusted to as high as 90 mph on Cape Cod, Mass., where about 200,000 residents lost power.

The storm left nearly 200,000 people without power in Maine, too. Heavy rain combined with 60 mph wind gusts knocked down trees and power lines, the Maine Emergency Management Agency said, advising residents to look for hazards on Thursday because many roads were unsafe.

In Portland, Maine, the atmospheric pressure at sea level — an indicator of the strength of a storm — was the lowest ever recorded in October, said William Watson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Maine.

Correspondent Anna Merriman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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