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Manhole Blast Flings NYer Into Air


An early morning manhole fire caused officials to evacuate six buildings in Brooklyn Tuesday just blocks away from the site of a manhole explosion that flung a man into the air the day before.

No one was injured in Tuesday's fire, which started at about 4 a.m. on 440 Sixth Street in Park Slope, according to the FDNY. 

On Monday, a man was flung into the air by the force of a weather-related manhole explosion on Prospect Park West between Fourth and Fifth streets, according to Consolidated Edison and fire officials. A second person was also injured. 

The man, who had been walking on the street shortly before noon, apparently was hit in the head by the flying manhole as he was flung into the air, utility and city fire officials said. He was taken to a hospital.

It wasn't clear if the second injured person also went to a hospital. The conditions of the victims weren't immediately available. 

Con Edison said that ice-melting road salt seeped under the manhole cover causing the blast. It shattered windows and could be heard and felt from as far as 10 blocks away, according to witnesses.

Utility workers were assessing the damage at the scene. No widespread power outages were reported.

Photo Credit: @JennaStern/Twitter

Flight Cancellations Tuesday Following Snowstorm


Bradley International Airport has a few cancellations Tuesday morning following a snowstorm that dropped up to 16 inches on Connecticut Monday. 

There are are four departure cancellations, as of 5:46 a.m. on Tuesday, and there is also one arrival cancellation, the airport reported.

Four flights are also delayed, according to Bradley.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Move Your Cars From Hartford School Lots: Officials


If you parked in a school parking lot in Hartford during the snowstorm parking ban, the city is asking you to remove your car by noon so they can clear them and reopen schools. 

But before you can move your car, you might have to dig out and clear the snow off the top, so come prepared with a shovel and scraper.


The capital city instated a parking ban soon after the Super Bowl on Sunday and it's still in effect until mid-Tuesday morning to get the cars off of city streets, allowing plows to come through.

But Hartford police reported seeing low compliance with the parking ban this time around. They towed 515 cars and issued 733 tickets.

And the tickets come with hefty fines.

"$95. And it's crazy. I could use that to buy food for my kids. It's ridiculous. That's gas money," Jay Smith, of Hartford, said.

Since the snow kept falling on Monday, city leaders kept extending the parking ban. School lots were offered as alternate parking locations.

The ban will be lifted at 9 a.m. and residents have until noon to move their cars from school lots.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Spin-Outs and School Delays After Monday Storm


Hundreds of schools are closed or opening late on Tuesday morning as the people across Connecticut dig out after another winter storm brought more than a foot of fresh snow to parts of the state.

The lingering snow and ice also causing problems on the roads this morning and police have responded to several crashes.

A car flipped on its side on Interstate 84 in Waterbury, but no injuries are reported.

There are several delays on the highways, including I-84 West in Vernon, I-84 East in New Britain I-91 South in Windsor and I-91 North in Rocky Hill.

There were also spin-outs, including on Interstate 84 East in East Hartford and on Interstate 95 South in East Lyme. Several spinouts caused delays on Interstate 91 South, causing delays from Windsor Locks to Hartford.

Much of interior Connecticut received up to a foot of snow – or more. Weather watchers have measured 6 inches in Simsbury, 14.3 inches in Weston, 13 inches in Avon and 12.5 inches in Enfield. Check our running list of snow totals here.

The storm, which started as snow, then switched over to sleet before turning back to snow is also impacting air travel. Four departures scheduled for Tuesday morning at Bradley Airport had been canceled as of 5:46 a.m. Check with your air carrier for more information.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles has also canceled all road tests scheduled up to 10 a.m. on Tuesday because of road conditions. 

If you owed property taxes on Monday, you have until today to pay. Since most of the state was snowed in Monday, the governor extended the property tax deadline to Tuesday, Feb. 3.

Some municipalities, such as Bridgeport and New Milford, declared snow emergencies ahead of the storm, and several parking bans remain in effect. See if your city or town is affected.

Temperatures will be bitter cold today and we could see more snow later this week. Check the forecast for updates.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT Traffic Camera
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Snow Contributed to Apartment Roof Collapses in Montville


At least 20 residents are displaced from an apartment complex in Montville after the roof collapsed late Monday evening. The fire marshal investigated on Tuesday morning and said the weight of snow contributed to the collapse.

State police responded to the two-story apartment building at 1591 Route 32 at 11:40 p.m. on Monday after reports of the roof creaking.

There are 17 apartments in the building, which is located behind the Montville Post Office, and four were unoccupied when part of the roof caved in on the second floor in one of the units.

Police deemed the entire building unsafe for residents to sleep in overnight, so they were evacuated and displaced overnight, but possibly longer.

Twenty people stayed with family or friends overnight and were allowed to get some necessities, including medications, if escorted back into the building by a firefighter or police officer.

Mohegan Sun provided a bus to take anyone else who didn't have a place to stay to the Mohegan Fire Department on Route 32. Red Cross helped with the shelter at the department.

Some pets are still inside the apartments and officials said they will work with the residents on Tuesday morning to find them a temporary place to stay if needed, state police said.

Montville police and firefighters, state police and the Montville fire marshal responded and a couple Montville officers were stationed at the building until morning to monitor the apartment complex.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman a Passenger on Ill-Fated Cruises 2 Years in a Row


Lightning struck twice, and not in a good way, for a South Jersey couple who happened to be a passenger on ill-fated cruises two years in a row.

Barbara Ferguson and her husband Edward Petrasovits of Dennis Township, New Jersey, were passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas last February. During the cruise, Ferguson was one of the 630 passengers sickened due to a new Sydney strain of norovirus. It was one of the largest norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship in the last 20 years.

While the Sydney strain is not considered unusually dangerous, it has become a common cause of cases of vomiting and diarrhea that last a few days.

As compensation, Royal Caribbean offered Ferguson a discounted price on a future trip of her choosing. Barbara decided to go on the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas with her husband.

"We thought, well, we're gonna go again, use our voucher, have a good time," Ferguson said.

The cruise left Baltimore for the Bahamas on January 24 and was set to return Tuesday.

"The only reason I went again was because my wife said, 'what are the odds?'" Petrasovits said.

It turns out the odds were not in their favor however. Their cruise was cut short when nearly 200 passengers became sick with what officials believed to be norovirus.

“During the current sailing, Grandeur of the Seas has experienced a number of guests with a gastrointestinal illness,” said a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean. “Over the course of the sailing, 193 guests (9.91 percent) and nine crew members (1.15 percent) experienced the illness, thought to be norovirus. Those affected by the short-lived illness are responding well to over-the-counter medication administered onboard the ship.”

The boat returned to Baltimore a day early though a spokesperson said it was due to an unrelated medical emergency. While Ferguson didn't get sick this time, she told NBC10 it was still a miserable experience.

"They were cleaning with a chemical that made me have a sore throat continuously," Ferguson said.

Passengers on the cruise received an on-board credit for a port the cruise skipped as well as a discount on a future voyage equal to one day of the fare they paid for the Grandeur of the Seas. Despite this, Ferguson said she has no plans on going on a third cruise.

"No, we're done with Royal Caribbean," she said. "No, absolutely not. I don't even want a voucher."

Photo Credit: Barbara Ferguson

Crash Closed I-395 South in Plainfield


Interstate 395 South in Plainfield was closed so emergency crews can remove vehicles after a crash.

Police said a pickup and a tractor-trailer collided near exit 87 and minor injuries are reported.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'Jersey Boys': A Rock Concert Within a Musical


If you've never had the chance to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in concert, the next closest thing is coming to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford.

Jersey Boys has been touring nationally and in Canada since 2011 and it opens at the Oakdale Tuesday, Feb. 3 for a one-week run. The Tony Award-winning musical has also been made into a movie.

"It's the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, so it's kind of his journey in the telling of his life and the Four Seasons," said Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, who stars as Frankie Valli. 

Before the group formed, "they were just four guys from Jersey," according to the Jersey Boys website. In this version, your Four Seasons are Jarquin-Moreland, Matthew Dailey (Tommy Devito), Keith White (Nick Massi) and Drew Seeley (Bob Gaudio).

"Same great show that you can see in any company across the world," said Dailey, who described his character, Tommy as the one who finds the talent, "puts the group together" and is the glue that keeps them together.

Drew Seeley portrays songwriter Bob Gaudio, the last man to join the Four Seasons and White's Nick Massi is the bass player in the group.

"He comes up with all the harmonies too," White said, adding "and he's the best looking."

And the harmonies are what gave Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons their distinctive sound.

As the play follows the story of the iconic all-male band, the "Jersey Boys" of the nationally touring company said it's a musical that appeals to men. It's a play that feels like a concert, according to the actors.

"It's a guys' musical. It's one of the best written musicals ever," Jarquin-Moreland said. "And it's not really a musical. It's like a play with four seats of music. It's one of the most intelligently written pieces in musical theater history and it's just the story of these guys and how they came to be the Four Seasons, one of the greatest groups of all time in American pop culture and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers."

Why go see it?

"It's like a rock concert and it's a great story," Seeley said. "What more can you want?"

The production's website said that the show is not recommended for children because it "contains smoke, gun shots, strobe lights, drug references, sexual situations and profane 'authentic Jersey language.' "

The show runs at the Oakdale through Feb. 8. You can visit the Oakdale's website or the tour's website for more information on the production and tickets are available on Live Nation.

The Toyota Oakdale Theatre is powered by Xfinity, which is affiliated with Comcast. NBC Connecticut is in the NBC Universal family, which Comcast owns.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police in Hartford, Vermont Searching for Missing Woman


Hartford police and Vermont state police are working together to find a 24-year-old woman who has been missing since late January.

Denise Lynette Hart has been missing since Jan. 25, according to the missing person report posted by Vermont State Police.

Denise, who is also known as "Tiffany" and “Chookie,” makes regular trips from Hartford, Connecticut, to the area of Rutland, Vermont, but has remained in constant contact with family members during previous trips, police said. None of her loved ones have heard from her since last month.

Anyone with information is asked to call Vermont State Police in Rutland at 802-773-9101.

Photo Credit: Vermont State Police

Bitcoin Death Threat Scam Targets Stamford Residents


Stamford police are investigating after scammers mailed death threats to local families, demanding money in exchange for sparing their lives, and this is not the only town the scam is happening.

The letters identify the victim's family members by name, make threats and explain how to make a $5,000 payment using Bitcoin, according to police. Five families in Stamford have reported the letters to police.

"As convincing and threatening these letters are, they are all a scam by playing on your fears for your family’s safety in exchange for money," Stamford police said in a news release. "In these letters they have done research to find out your relatives names and then they place this into a form letter and mail them out to thousands of unsuspecting people. All of the letters that we have encountered are exactly the same except they change the names and accounts on every letter. All of the letters have been received through the US postal service with no return address on them."

Last week, Farmington police said they have received two complaints within a week from residents who received threatening letters addressed to their homes. According to police, those notes were postmarked in Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida.

The notes sent in Farmington begin as follows:

"XXX you do not know who we are, but we have been tracking you and your loved ones for a while now. We know your schedules. We know where you all live and spend your time. We also know how to kill any one of you without being caught. Now XXX, don't panic. This isn't personal. You did nothing to deserve this. You were just one of a handful of families unfortunate enough to draw our attention."

They continue on to say, "However, nobody has to die," then instruct the recipients to create an account through any online Bitcoin exchange and deposit $2,000.

"Withdrawal [sic] all Bitcoin you purchased to the following Bitcoin address: 19vcdWcV4J8bhH7j3igHZ5q4WGT2UX5V2S," the letters instruct. "Be sure to type all 34 characters of that Bitcoin address in EXACTLY."

The mailings also include a "Note to Law Enforcement" explaining that police will never be able to catch or identify the culprits.

Stamford police want to assure residents that the letters are part of a scam, there is no direct threat, the FBI has been notified and anyone who received the letter should call police.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Clear Off Your Cars to Avoid Ice Missiles


"Clear the snow before you go" is a new slogan that AAA is stressing to drivers to avoid so-nicknamed ice missiles that could fly off cars and pose a danger to other drivers.

Drivers also face fines in Connecticut under state law requiring motorists to clear snow and ice from the tops of cars before hitting the roads. If snow or ice launches from your roof on the road and slams into another vehicle, you could be fined $75 or as much as $1,000 if it injures someone or damages property, according to AAA.

Uncleared cars pose a particular risk on highways like Interstate 95, I-84 or Route 15 in snowstorms, particularly if the snow or ice falls off cars at a high speed, according to AAA.

“Leaving snow or ice on top of your car while you’re driving 60 mph, becomes a safety hazard to other drivers,” AAA Northeast spokesman Fran Mayko said. “It’s also downright rude with-out taking into consideration how your actions could affect others.”

State regulations banning travel with snow on your car were signed into law in 2013. Former State Rep. Larry Cafero, of Norwalk, penned the legislation "after his wife was a 'victim' of flying snow," according to AAA.

"A sheet of ice flew off a truck and smashed into the vehicle she was driving on the thruway," AAA said in a news release. "She reportedly was unhurt, but frightened as anyone would be if they’ve ever experienced a similar situation."

The law states that drivers “shall remove any accumulated ice or snow from such motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk or roof of such motor vehicle so that any ice or snow accumulated on such vehicle does not pose a threat to persons or property while the vehicle is being operated on any street or highway of this state.”

The only exception that won't warrant a ticket is snow or precipitation that falls on the car while you're already traveling.

Mayko recommends using a scraper and brush that has a "telescoping handle" to allow you further reach across your car. A push broom is ideal for larger vehicles and truck drivers can use "long rakes," she said.

"It takes 10 minutes of your time to practice good driver etiquette in your driveway,” Mayko said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 6 Reopens in Chaplin After Oil Tanker Flips


Route 6/Willimantic Road has reopened in Chaplin after an oil tanker flipped onto its side at the intersection of Route 198/Phoenixville Road on Tuesday evening.

The road was closed for several hours between Lynch Road and Chewink Road and reopened around 10 p.m., according to the Department of Transportation.

It's not clear if any other vehicles were involved in the crash or if anyone was hurt.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Traffic Getting by on Merritt Parkway in Stratford


The northbound side of the Merritt Parkway/Route 15 has reopened in Stratford following a car fire that prompted police to shut down the highway.

State police troopers and the members of the Stratford Fire Department responded to the scene late Tuesday afternoon. The highway was closed between exits 52 and 53, but traffic is now getting by.

Police said no injuries were reported and the scene has been cleared.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ice Missiles Will Cost You


The state's "ice missile" law requires drivers to pay a $75 fine for failing to remove snow and ice from their cars before hitting the roads.

“If a police officer sees you, you can be subject to a fine of about $75. If the flying snow results in an injury or damage to your vehicle, fines certainly are higher,” said AAA Northeast spokesperson Fran Mayko.

Mayko said snow and ice missiles can be extremely dangerous.

“As the victim of the flying ice, you certainly could lose control of your car, but there's also a good chance that your windshield will smash, or you could collide with another person on the roadway,” said Mayko.

Rocky Hill resident Tyler Cote had a close call on the Merritt Parkway on Tuesday.

“I was just driving down the Merritt, and there was a Jeep Cherokee in front of me, going about 65 and the entire top was a sheet of ice and came right off and landed right in front of me. It could have caused a three-car pileup,” he said.

Mayko said it's common courtesy to clear off cars.

“It's not only against the law to this, but it's downright rude. It's common driver etiquette,” she said.

Photo Credit: NECN

Mounting Concern Over Ice Dams, Collapsing Roofs


With snow piled on rooftops around the state, concerns are mounting for home and business owners about ice dams and the potential for roofs to collapse.

Officials say heavy snow was to blame for a roof collapse at an apartment building in Montville late Monday night. As a result, 20 residents were displaced.

The back-to-back winter storms are keeping roofing contractors around the state busy.

We caught up with a crew from J.J. Landerman Roofing as they worked on the roof of a Simsbury home. They cleared the edges of the roof and also used calcium chloride to break up the ice.

"What you want to do is clean 3 feet past that wall to the interior of the house, and that allows the snow to melt and drain into the gutter and then that eliminates the ice dams," said company foreman Frank Mortell.

Failing to clear ice dams could cause interior damage to your home or business, according to experts.

If you can't do the work yourself, Mortell advises residents to call a licensed contractor for help.

"With this snow, this put another ten to twelve inches on top of what was already there and that's where your trouble starts now. If you don't address it now it's going to continue to build up and your ice dams are going to get greater and greater," said Mortell.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

School Delayed After 6 Snow Days in New London


A delay to make sure school grounds and routes were passable held back the long-awaited return to class in New London after six snow days.

Parents said their daily routines are much easier with the kids at school.

"He's a wild kid and needs to be around other children and stuff," Michaela Johnson said of her son. "They need to be in school – better than stuck at home. They get cabin fever."

Students, however, have a different take on snow days.

"My baby's not very happy," said Sunni Bazam. "He don't [sic] want to go to school. He wants to play in the snow."

What the snow days do to the public schools' calendar is up to the New London Board of Education. The superintendent did not return our phone call Tuesday.

Stratford Firefighters Dig Out Hydrants


Firefighters in Stratford made the rounds Tuesday to dig out fire hydrants buried by snow and make them once again available to emergency responders who need them.

“We have to keep the fronts clean, and the side ears," said Stratford Fire Lt. Jim Mecozzi. "What we do, the main line is the large hookup in the front, and then we do one side of the hydrant, the closest to the fire.”

Firefighters said unobstructed hydrant access is very important in emergency situations, because hydrants are the main source of water when fighting fires.

“We carry a little bit of water on the fire trucks, but not enough to put out a house fire,” said Stratford Fire Chief Robert McGrath.

With two snow storms in a row, it's hard to stay on top of which hydrants are buried.

“It's extremely difficult because if the snow gets piled up, unfortunately, the plows plow them in and we need to get out and make sure they're available. So with back-to-back storms, the guys have been working really hard,” said McGrath.

However, they can't hit the town's more than 1,300 hydrants alone, so they're asking people who live and work in Stratford to help out.

“We'd appreciate if they can come out and help us out, adopt a hydrant or so, help us out, because we can't get to all of them right away. We try our best,” said McGrath.

Malloy Rolls Out Criminal Justice Reform


Gov. Dannel Malloy presented a plan Tuesday to alter parts of the state's criminal justice system in an effort to evolve with changing societal and budget times.

"We cannot live in a perpetually punitive society," Malloy told the crowd in a Yale Law School lecture hall.

The speech sparked the beginning of the governor's plan to make Connecticut a "Second Chance Society."

The governor said he grew up in a world different than the way things are today, adding that "the United States of America and the state of Connecticut lost their way" in the 1980s.

Malloy's legislative proposals will include reclassifying some drug crimes and non-violent offenses, streamlining the parole system and removing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes.

“We know that felony convictions for simple non-violent possession can often rob someone of future opportunity," he said, "whether it’s employment opportunity or even a place to live.”

On parole changes, the governor urged changes that would allow for the release of an inmate who can show he or she is a different person than when entering prison.

“For minor non-violent offenses, a pardon, given a period a period of time where a citizen has demonstrated that they’ve reformed themselves, should almost be automatic," Malloy said. "People, especially young people make mistakes.”

Similar changes have been made in other states, many of them left-leaning like Texas and Alabama, to deal with budgetary constraints and change the way sentences are handled.

Malloy said this doesn't mean he's endorsing other GOP ideas, just ones that work.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Lebanon House Uninhabitable After Fire


The home at 305 Cook Hill Road in Lebanon is uninhabitable after a fire on Tuesday, officials said.

The Willimantic Fire Department provided mutual aid.

No additional information is available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Probe 2 Shootings in Waterbury


Police are investigating after two people were shot in separate, targeted incidents in Waterbury on Monday.

According to Waterbury police spokesman Deputy Chief Christopher Corbett, the shooters and victims in both incidents knew one another.

The first shooting took place on Bank Street around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Corbett said the victim, a 27-year-old man, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Gunfire broke out again on Locust Street about four hours later, around 6:15 p.m. That victim was also hospitalized for treatment of injuries that were not life threatening, according to Corbett.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Photo Credit: Jamie Lillis
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