On any given day, the sound of police sirens screaming in town would mean that a serious crime had taken place. But in the aftermath of Sandy, residents knew it could signal only one thing. Power was restored at the gas stations and people were rushing en masse to get there.
The first station to regain power today was the Shell station on River Road near the intersection of Henley. At approximately 1 pm, power ignited the Shell sign, illuminiating it like a beacon, causing people with red gas cans and cars to descend in all directions upon it, creating a traffic nightmare on River Road.
Within minutes Police Chief Frank Papapietro had officers redirecting traffic and creating order from the chaos of cars vying for premium position at the tanks.
One resident standing on line with his empty red gas can in hand said, "As soon as I heard the sirens I knew the gas station had to be opened, so I grabbed my can from the garage and ran."
At approximately 3 pm the Sunoco station on the corner of River Road and New Bridge Road regained their power, causing the same chaotic reaction among people desperate for gas. Again, New Milford Police erected barricades and directed the lines of waiting cars to one lane of traffic on southbound River Road.
"The problem is that many gas stations have gas, but no power to run the pumps," Papapietro said. "As power is restored, gas will become more plentiful."
"Gas deliveries are coming into the area," he added. "But until the situation returns to normal, people should conserve gas and avoid any unnecessary travel."