Westfield Police, firefighters assist residents

WESTFIELD – City police and firefighters have been busy helping residents who have been impacted by the recent storm – and the difficulties resulting from the widespread loss of electrical power caused by the trees and limbs, overloaded with heavy wet snow, which fell and brought down electrical power lines in the city and the region.
A shelter was opened at Westfield State University on Sunday at noon for residents who were forced from their homes by isolation and the chill creeping into residences when heating sources dependent on electricity failed.
Many of the persons transported by police and firefighters were not in immediate danger but some situations were acute and needed prompt relief.
A caller at 5:12 a.m. Sunday reported that a pregnant Hopkins Road resident was reporting that her contractions were three minutes apart but was unable to leave her residence due to fallen trees which were blocking the driveway. Westfield firefighters were able to reach the woman who was transported to Baystate Medical Center.
Other residents who are dependent on oxygen also called police for assistance and were helped to the shelter of Noble Hospital.
Police were also called upon to help when hospital staff reported that the emergency room staff was down to two persons and a worker had reported that she was unable to get to the hospital due to road conditions. A nurse was transported to the hospital by police from a Falley Drive address.
City police were kept busy with well-being checks – both those initiated by officers and others resulting from calls by persons outside the city who were concerned for loved ones they had not been able to reach by telephone.
Some residents were transported to the shelter by police after they were found shivering in their homes.
A team of officers led by community policing officer Steven Nacewicz made more than 150 individual checks of residences Sunday evening at Hampden Village on the north side of the city, which is largely populated by elderly residents.
Others were assisted by city firefighters. Deputy Chief Patrick Kane said “we were busy Sunday. We did 70 or 80 calls” he said and said about 20 of them were calls to transport “older people who had lost their heat” he said.
Noble Hospital was designated the handicapped emergency shelter by city officials and hospital staffers report that 13 persons were accommodated overnight Sunday, in the hospital’s surgical car unit, before they were relocated on Monday.
Dianne Brunelle, the hospital’s vice president for patient care services, said Tuesday “We saw a record number of patients in our emergency room Monday” and also said “we saw a big percentage of people who were affected by the storm in one way or another.” She said that injuries included crashes, falls with laceration,s and chain saw accidents. She said the hospital treated “a fair number (of patients) with illnesses aggravated by the cold.”
“An additional five persons were provided shelter at the hospital overnight Monday,” she said.

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