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Look What The Wind Blew In
by Thomas MacMillan | Nov 1, 2012 6:21 pm
Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Superstorm Sandy
After Superstorm Sandy tore off a chunk of the roof at Brian Driscoll’s Phoenix Press, city and federal officials showed up with a message: Help is available for small businesses damaged by the storm.
Bernie Sweeney, the district director for the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), delivered that message during a Thursday afternoon press conference behind Phoenix Press, on James Street in Fair Haven.
He announced the availability of special low-interest loans for businesses and homeowners. The loans have opened up since President Obama declared parts of Connecticut to be an official disaster area.
Workers nearby were cleaning up debris left over after Sandy destroyed part of the roof.
Other workers peered curiously down on the press conference from above, where they were putting on a temporary roof.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro spoke at the press conference, along with Mayor John DeStefano and other city officials.
Driscoll, who owns the press, said he came in to work at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning during the storm to find fire trucks at the building. A worker who arrived before him had smelled gas and called in emergency personnel. It turned out that when Sandy ripped off chunks of the roof, the storm mangled some gas lines connected to heating and cooling units on the roof.
Luckily, most of the escaping gas remained outside, Driscoll said. If it had been inside, it might have been ignited accidentally, he said.
“It could have been a fireball,” said Driscoll (pictured).
Sweeney announced that the federal emergency declaration has opened up low-interest loans for homeowners and businesses affected by the storm. He said people can apply online at the SBA website.
The federal government has also opened up a loan application center in Bridgeport and plans to open four more in the area. DeLauro said she is working to have one of those centers open closer to New Haven.
If you’re thinking of applying, “Don’t delay!” Sweeney (pictured) stressed. One of the deadlines is Dec. 31. Loans are available even if you have insurance, he said.
Driscoll said his company is insured for the damage, but he faces a very high deductible. He said it could cost $200,000 to repair the roof.
He said he applied for an SBA loan some months ago to help with debt consolidation. He said he’s hoping that application can be expedited given the recent damage.
One upside to Sandy’s visit is that Phoenix Press’ enormous wind turbine was able to generate two or three weeks’ worth of electricity in one day, Driscoll said.
The turbine cranked out 3,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity during the storm, he said.
The turbine had to shut down a couple of times due to exceedingly high wind, he said. It’s designed to shut off and “yaw” away from the wind if winds exceed 60 miles per hour.
Tags: superstorm sandy, Phoenix Press
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