Chris Dodd Tours Tornado Damage in Bridgeport, Conn. - NECN

Chris Dodd Tours Tornado Damage in Bridgeport, Conn.



    (NECN: Brian Burnell, Bridgeport, Conn.) - The tornado that ripped through Bridgeport a couple of weeks ago did an awful lot of damage in an awfully short time.  Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd got a rundown from the mayor and emergency officials on just how bad it was.

    Mayor Bill Finch, D-Bridgeport, CT:  "So there were 3 or 4 buildings, large buildings, where the roofs were just hurled against the next building in sequence."

    This is Washington Park. Five acres covering a city block right in the path of the tornado.  There are least half-a-dozen stumps like these.  Trees that had to be taken down after they were either knocked down or pulled up by the roots by the hundred-mile-an-hour winds.

    In all a thousand trees were damaged or destroyed and that's just the beginning.  A few more numbers connected to the tornado.  20 city buildings damaged, 2 had to be torn down, 7 are not inhabitable.

    Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut:  "Stunning number of people.  I didn't realize the number was that high.  700 people, 130 families are displaced but I'm told by the mayor and his team that all of these families are being taken care of.  They're being fed.  Didn't have to wait days for that to happen.  Began to move literally within hours of the events of the afternoon of June 24th."

    The Red Cross has been a big help to those who lost their homes.

    Diane Auger, Red Cross:  "We've made a committment that we will extend the assistance until we know that family has a place to stay of their own.  And so what we've asked each family to do is work with our case workers on a regular basis as that changes."

    The federal government judges the need for a disaster declaration on the dollar amount of damage done.  In order to qualify a county needs to prove at least 2-point-8-million-dollars in damages.  The mayor says they are crunching the numbers.

    Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut: "It was devastating.  It's a tough city in the sense that economics have been hard and many of these families as the mayor just said were some of the poorest in the Bridgeport community.  So we need FEMA to recognize don't apply a county standard to us here."

    There is no word on how long it will be before they know whether help is forthcoming from the federal government.