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Gas Outage Left Hundreds Without Heat for Hours


Some Connecticut Natural Gas customers in Berlin were without heat for hours during a brutally cold weekend because of defective regulator, which is affecting getting natural gas to some customers.

The affected houses on Farmington Avenue, Lower Lane, Worthington Ridge, Hudson Street, Overhill Drive, Fernstead Lane and Walden Court were without natural gas service from 4 a.m. until nearly 6 p.m. Sunday.

CNG estimates 270 customers were affected. The company sent representatives to each affected home to purge the gas lines.

The McGee Middle School on Norton Street was opened as a warming center.

This outage happened as exceptional cold gripped Connecticut, with temperatures as low as -18F in Litchfield County.

At Bradley Airport the mercury dipped to -12F making this the coldest temperature since 1996. In Bridgeport the temperature hit -5F making this the coldest morning since 1984 and the third coldest temperature recorded at Sikorsky Airport.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning for the entire state today.

Wind chills are dropping near -30F Sunday morning which can result in frostbite in as little as 15 minutes.


Temperatures will remain brutally cold through the day Sunday with wind chills well below zero and temperatures remaining in the single digits for most of the state through the afternoon.


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Virgin Airways Jet Returns to London After Laser Strike


A Virgin Airways plane headed to New York returned to London after it was hit by a laser strike, NBC News reported.

Heathrow Airport told NBC News that Virgin Flight 25 returned because of a “medical emergency involving the pilot.”

London Police said there were no arrests made in the incident.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez

48 People Evacuated From Tram


Dozens of people were trapped Sunday on a tram at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire.

Mountain officials confirmed that 48 people were in the tram suspended in the air of the Franconia ski area.

All of the passengers were evacuated.

According to Cannon Mountain, a service brake issue caused the tram to stop at 1:50 p.m. At 3:20 p.m., officials decided to make the evacuations.

Cell phone video sent to necn by Britnee Rhoades shows people being rescued from one of the stuck trams

"The tram stopped suddenly so it was definitely an e-brake stop, and it swung like I've never swung on that tram before," said Jeremy Fishel, who was on the lower tram..

Fishel is a season pass holder at Cannon Mountain. He says there was not panic. In fact, the head of lift operations happened to be on the tram, as well. She told the skiers they hoped to get it moving again quickly with an auxiliary motor.

But after about an hour, they decided to get the people off. Cannon Mountain marketing director Gregory Keeler says the trams have equipment to do that.

"There's a door at the bottom in the middle of the car that opens up," he told necn. "A rope gets put up to the top or down from the car and it's attached to a sling and we essentially lower people down on a sling. Sort of a belay system."

"They had one harness that was lowered down, and as that was being lowered down, there was a bucket that would go up and then somebody would get in the bucket," Fishel explained. "The bucket would go down, the harness would go back up."

He says it only took about five seconds to lower each person the approximately 40 feet to the ground where emergency personnel waited to check everyone out.

"There were no injuries reported," Keeler said. "Some cold feet, but not even any frostbite reported."

The tramway was expected to be closed until 8:15 a.m. Monday.

No one was injured or sickened. The mountain says it provided food, drinks and blankets to the passengers once they were freed from the tram.

Stay with necn as this story develops.

Photo Credit: Mike Nikitas

Polar Vortex Moves Out, Warmer Temps, Snow Move In


Cold weather records across the Northeast were shattered on Valentine's Day after the polar jet stream shot a mass of Canadian arctic air south. Warmer temperatures are expected Monday — but so is more hazardous weather, with snow, freezing rain and some potential flooding on the way.

Sunday began with bone-chilling lows: In Boston, thermometers dipped to minus 9 degrees — the coldest day since Jan. 15, 1957, according to The Weather Channel — while in New York City, Central Park registered minus 1, the lowest reading in 22 years.

So it went from Newark, New Jersey, to Hartford, Connecticut, to Watertown, New York, where temperatures plunged to a staggering (and all-time record) minus 37 degrees. Across much of the region, the wind chill drove thermometers down even further.

In Boston, the cold damaged subway lines, cracking one and sending others out of alignment. At Logan Airport, more than 200 flights were delayed because of "minor problems with ground equipment," officials said.

Photo Credit: AP

"Massive" Fire in Brooklyn


More than 140 firefighters were battling a "massive" fire at a multi-story home in Brooklyn Sunday night into Monday morning, the FDNY said. 

"I look out the window and it was all red," one resident named Steve said. "Fire coming out of the backyard, the whole building looked on fire." 

Images from the fire in Greenpoint showed the residential building totally engulfed in flames. 

"You could see the embers in the air, it was just like swirling. I guess the wind was carrying it. Then the fire just kept growing and growing," Jill Checker, who was cat-sitting next door, said. 

Four people, including two firemen, suffered minor injuries in the blaze, which began sometime before 11 p.m., according to fire officials. 

The first started at 47 Diamond St. and spread to two adjacent buildings. 

"They said everyone should move back because there was this popping noise. Things were exploding," Checker said, adding that there were lights flickering like firecrackers as the fire took off.

When Checker realized the neighboring building was on fire, she went back into the home where she was cat-sitting and got Larry the cat, who was not injured. 

"I was worried about the smoke so I went back for the cat," Checker said. 

A fire official said that all three buildings were damaged and would have to be demolished. He didn't know how many people were forced out of their homes by the fire, but said that all three buildings had been occupied. 

The FDNY tweeted just before 1:30 a.m. that they had the inferno under control.

Fire trucks were lined up down Diamond Street, between Nassau and Driggs avenues, into Monday morning. 

The street was like an ice skating rink early Monday from all the water used to extinguish the fire.

Two salt trucks were nearby, apparently to salt the slippery street. 

Photo Credit: FDNY
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McCain Threatens to Subpoena U.S. Sailors Held by Iran


Sen. John McCain wants President Barack Obama to release the findings of an investigation into the Iranian detention of 10 U.S. sailors and he said he's willing to subpoena the sailors if the information on what happened during the brief detention was not released.

"It's an option that I do not want to exercise," McCain, R-Arizona, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told reporters as he was returning to the United States from an international security conference in Germany.

The sailors were detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps after their two patrol boats strayed into Iranian waters on Jan. 12. U.S. officials later blamed a navigational problem.The Americans were soon freed but just what took place isn't known, NBC News reported.

Photo Credit: AP

Crews Brave Elements to Fight Small Fire in Hartford


Cold temperatures posed a challenge for Hartford firefighters as they worked to put out a small fire early Monday morning.

Crews responded to 300 Maxim Road near Lindbergh Drive just after 4:30 a.m.
Hartford fire's deputy chief said the fire was in an area where trash is ground up.
Firefighters were able to get it under control within 10 minutes but said due to the extreme cold, their water supply froze up.
There was a bus on site and the fire trucks were kept running so that firefighters could take breaks to keep warm.
No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Battled House Fire in Simsbury


A house fire shut down Route 10 at Old Mountain Plain in Simsbury on Monday morning. 

Firefighters were called to 43 Hopmeadow Street around 5:30 a.m. on Monday and officials said everyone inside the two-story home made it out unharmed.
The scene is clear, but the road was closed until around 8:30 a.m. because the road was icy.

4 Americans Arrested in Bahrain on Uprising's Anniversary


Bahrain has arrested four Americans, three men and one woman, during violent protests marking the anniversary of the kingdom's 2011 uprising, officials said Monday, NBC News reported. 

Bahrain's interior ministry said one of the Americans was wearing a mask and joining "rioters" in attacks on police. All four gave "false" information that they were tourists and were detained in the same area, the ministry added in a statement. The ministry said "at least some" were acting as journalists but hadn't registered with the necessary authorities. 

According to The Assocaited Press, the four Americans arrived in Bahrain last week and were journalists covering the anniversary of the uprising. 

The U.S. Embassy in Manama said in a statement Monday it was "aware of the arrest of four U.S. citizens in Bahrain" on Sunday but that it could not discuss the case due to privacy concerns.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Most BBB Complaints About Cellphone Businesses


Consumers across the country continued to file complaints in 2015 about the same top 10 types of businesses as they have for several years in a row, according to the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.

Most complaints in 2015 were about cellular telephone service and telephone communications.

"It is clear that most consumer complaints to Better Business Bureau consistently involve services that touch our everyday lives, from communications to entertainment, personal transportation, banking and shopping," Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman, Howard Schwartz said in a statement.

  1. Cellular telephone service and supplies
  2. Telephone communications
  3. New car dealers
  4. Television – cable, CATV and satellite
  5. Collection agencies
  6. Used car dealers
  7. Furniture – retail
  8. Banks
  9. Internet shopping
  10. Auto repair and service

In another analysis, the number of consumers making inquiries — researching a business, professional or charity through BBB — continued to rise in 2015. The most inquired-about are contractors, in addition to auto dealers and collection agencies, both of which are among the most complained-about types of business.

"Statistically, we see that consumers who do their research through Better Business Bureau before signing a contract tend to be less likely to file a complaint."

Following is the list from 2014:

  1. Cellular telephone service and supplies
  2. Telephone communications
  3. Television – cable, CATV and satellite
  4. New car dealers
  5. Collection agencies
  6. Used car dealers
  7. Internet shopping
  8. Furniture – retail
  9. Banks
  10. Auto repair and service

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pedestrian Hit on I-95 South in Bridgeport


State police are investigating a crash involving a pedestrian on Interstate 95 South in Bridgeport.

It happened late Sunday night between exits 25 and 26.
There is no word on what might have led to the crash or how seriously the person was hurt.
Check back for updates.

Man Tased, Arrested After Disturbances in West Haven


West Haven police had their hands full Sunday night after deploying a taser on a man causing trouble in two different businesses.

Police said they were first called to Z's Corner Cafe on Campbell Avenue for an intoxicated man causing a disturbance. The man then moved on to Krauszer's where he allegedly caused yet another disturbance.

Officers located the man inside the store where he actively resisted officers' commands. Officials said they then deployed a taser before taking him into custody.

Police arrested 39-year-old Branford Davis, of West Haven. He faces multiple charges and was held on bond.

Davis also had a Failure to Appear warrant which was served.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing


One of the downfalls of the freezing cold temperatures that moved in this weekend is pipes freezing in your home and a Milford plumber said there are steps you can take to prevent it.

“When the pipe is frozen, that’s when it’s safe. The problem is when the thaw comes and that’s what going to happen now,” Rick Jurzyk, of Rick’s Plumbing Service in Milford, said.

Homeowners should run all of the faucets in their home when its cold and make sure their pipes aren’t closed off.

“Just make sure you’re getting a flow of water,” he said.

He also recommends opening up the drawers so the warm air will circulate around the pipes.

He said you should also know where your home’s main shutoff valve is.

“That way, if anything was to happen, they can go downstairs and they can shut that valve off to stop any further damage,” he said.

A burst pipe can cost hundreds of dollars to repair and do hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Little People of Ecuador May Unlock Cancer Cure


One hundred very small people living in the remote villages of Ecuador may hold the key to curing cancer and other diseases, NBC News reported. 

They all suffer from Laron Syndrome, an incredibly rare genetic disorder that stops them from growing taller than 4 feet but also seems to protect them against cancer and diabetes and maybe even heart disease and Alzheimer's.

NBC News traveled with Guevara-Aguirre, an endocrinologist, and his research partner, Dr. Valter Longo, a longevity specialist at the University of Southern California, to southern Ecuador to visit their tiny patients.

Their research has two goals: figuring out how to distill the anti-disease properties of Laron Syndrome into a medication that could be used to fight cancer, diabetes and other illnesses in the rest of the world, and getting treatment that could help young people with the syndrome grow to full size.

Photo Credit: Jake Whitman

Power Outage Darkens Grand Central Terminal


A burst water pipe led to a power outage at Grand Central Terminal Monday, closing businesses on the lower level and sending passengers walking in the dark.

The MTA said employees and passengers were escorted from the terminal's lower level to the main floor when the outage occurred around 9 a.m. Monday. Service on the Metro-North commuter rail was not disrupted. It already was on holiday schedule due to President's Day.

Metro-North says it expects to operate a regular weekday schedule Tuesday morning, but customers should be prepared for potential delays of up to half-hour if the outage lingers.

The MTA said some ticket machines did go out of service, and that riders taking trains departing from the station could buy tickets on board without the surcharges that normally apply to such purchases.

Workers in the closed stores said power failures had happened before, but only for short amounts of time.

"It's pitch-black, you can't see anything. Anything that's electronic, it's out. Any food that's already prepped, they've gotta throw everything away," said worker Melvin Batties. "It's just total chaos downstairs.' 

Repairs were continuing Monday night, and the MTA says it hopes the have power restored before the morning rush Tuesday. 

Photo Credit: @novemberdream07
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Comcast Service Restored After Outages Sweep Country


Thousands of Comcast customers around the country lost Internet and television service Monday morning, according to DownDetector.com, which monitors telecommunications outages.

Most services were restored by 1:30 p.m. EST, according to Comcast.

"We have repaired the temporary network interruption that impacted some of our services this morning. Our engineers continue to work on this issue and almost all services have already been restored. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our customers," the company said in a statement Monday afternoon.

DownDetector's map shows Comcast outages peaked at 17,033 around 11:30 a.m. EST. Outages have been reported in cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Boston, Hartford and Washington, D.C.

Comcast — the parent company of NBCUniversal — offers phone, Internet and TV service in 40 states and Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Comcast
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Police ID 90-Year-Old Man Killed in Fire at New Haven Elderly Complex


New Haven firefighters are investigating a fire at a three-story elderly complex that killed a 90-year-old man who was not able to escape.

The flames broke out at Robeson Elderly Hall at 91 Rosette Street just after 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

The fire was contained to one apartment on second floor, where crews found Nathaniel Knox, who was in cardiac arrest, according to officials.  

“They found a fire in that apartment and they also rescued an occupant that was in there who was in cardiac arrest,” Assistant Chief of Operations Matthew Marcarelli said.

Knox later died after being transported. 

Police said Knox had prior health issues and it's likely he was not able to escape.

“He was my friend,” Desiree Jones, of New Haven, said. “He was our neighbor and our friend. My prayers are with his family.”

About 30 to 40 occupants were forced out of their homes and kept in a bus to keep warm until the Red Cross arrived to relocate them.

Firefighters said on Thursday that there was so much smoke and water damage in the building, they could not let the tenants back in.

“Truly we don’t know what our plan is,” Jones said. “We were taken away from our home. We are elderly people.”

Robeson Elderly Hall has 22 units. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but police said it was likely accidental. 

According to city documents, the building is owned by Mayor Toni Harp's son, Wendall Harp. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Burst Pipes Close CCSU Library Until March


Burritt Library at Central Connecticut State University will be closed to everyone other than library staff until around March 1 after a pipe burst early Sunday morning and caused damage.

A statement from the school said a pipe in the library burst around 3 am. on Sunday during the extremely cold temperatures. As the heat was off, pipes throughout the library began to freeze and burst.

Damage to books, library materials, furniture and carpeting appears to be limited, but there were major mechanical failures and the repairs have forced the extended closure of the library.

Starting on Tuesday, CCSU will set up a library satellite office in the student center, where students can request books and other library materials, which will then be delivered to the student center office.

The satellite office will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and it will be closed on weekends.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Men Stab Pizza Delivery Driver, Steal Pizza


Two people stabbed a pizza delivery driver early Monday morning in Hartford and stole the pizza he was delivering.

The victim told police he was delivering a pizza on Lisbon Street at 12:14 a.m. when a man got into his car and stabbed him several times.

The two men then ran off with the pizza, police said.

The victim drove himself to St. Francis Hospital and police were notified that someone showed up at the emergency room with a stab wound.

Major crimes was notified and police are investigating.

'Spectacular' 404-Carat Diamond Unearthed in Angola


Miners have unearthed an impressive 404.2-carat diamond in the African country of Angola.

The diamond — discovered by the Lucapa Diamond Company of Australia in partnership with Angola's national diamond company, Endiama, and the privately owned Rosas e Petalas — could be worth more than $20 million in Australian currency, or $14.3 million USD, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

It's the 27th largest diamond ever discovered and the biggest to hail from Angola, one of the world's top diamond producers, Lucapa announced in a news release Monday. The "spectacular" gemstone measures about 7 cm long.

The second-largest Angola diamond, uncovered in 2007 and known as the "Angola Star," weighed in at 217.4 carats, Lucapa said.

Photo Credit: Lucapa Diamond Company
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