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Severe storm shatters largest city in Connecticut

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By The Staff

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A severe storm packing ferocious winds tore through Connecticut's largest city Thursday, toppling trees and power lines and collapsing several buildings as a powerful line of storms swept across parts of the Northeast. Remarkably, no serious injuries were reported.

Hundreds of bricks shook loose from buildings, trees split in half and crushed cars, and a billboard hung precariously several stories up over Main Street. Nine buildings were partially or fully collapsed, including three on East Main Street that were brought to their foundations. Rescuers searched the rubble to ensure no one had been inside.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch declared a state of emergency after the fast-moving system of driving rain and wind gusts that reached 78 miles per hour in the area.

Jacqueline Arroyo, 44, said she saw a black cloud and ran inside to her third-floor apartment, where the window exploded. Trees were blown so ferociously they appeared to be coming out of the ground, and people were screaming, she said.

"All the wind started coming inside the house. I heard 'boom, boom!'" she said. "It was so fast but terrifying."

A jail was without power, Finch said. The mayor urged residents to stay indoors and remain calm, and Gov. M. Jodi Rell was surveying damage to the city.


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