Tropical storm Isaias did not leave the kind of damage it would have if it remained to be a hurricane. The downgrade to tropical storm status was a welcome relief for those that were on its path. For many, having no power was a big tradeoff to otherwise worse damage. However, Isaias was strong enough to leave many homes without electricity for several days due to downed wires. For one Sandy Hook family, the events that followed soon after Isaias hit couldn’t have been any worse. The Fung family of Sandy Hook, Connecticut is finally speaking out about what they experienced in reference to the electrical issues they experienced. The Fung’s family dog was electrocuted after coming into contact with downed wires that were confirmed to be dead by Eversource, a residential energy company that services the Sandy Hook area.
Buddy was a loveable 12-year old Labrador that’s been the Fung family pet for since 2008. John and Rebecca Fung were only dating when they first got Buddy, who was just a puppy at the time. 12 years and three kids later, Buddy became part of the family as many dogs do over time. This unforeseen event has brought to light many problems within the Eversource organization, and the Fung family is looking for a resolution. After tropical storm Isaias hit the Fung’s Pootatuck Park neighborhood, the normal damage was evident. Various debris, tree limbs, and downed wires were scattered all over. There were even a couple of electrical fires right outside the Fung’s residence. As expected, the Sandy Hook Fire Department came to assess the damages and made sure that the fires went out completely. They also called Eversource to come and do their part.
It was clear that the downed wires were the cause of the electrical fires, and Eversource contractors said that the wires were dead. They said this twice within the course of three days, but they also left live wires hidden in the grass. When the Fung family received the green light to be able to leave their home, they weren’t aware that the wires still posed a danger to them. This was in an area where the couple’s children always played in, and the victim of the incident could’ve been any one of the three kids.
It was buddy that fell victim to the lack of action on Eversource’s part. It was just a normal day for the family, and Buddy was simply enjoying time outdoors when he went into the area where the live wire was. Nobody was around to see it all happen, and one of the Fung’s neighbors was actually the one that saw Buddy on the ground. Although Buddy was not touching the wire directly when he was found, there were enough indications that point out that the dog’s body experienced a power surge. Although nobody was sure what could’ve happened, only two scenarios were possible. Buddy could’ve either stepped on the live wires directly or stepped on wet grass that conducted electricity to where he stood.
After the devastating event, the fire chief went back to the Fung residence to check the area once more. He called on to Eversource to come right away. When Eversource came to the scene, they told the family they weren’t aware that the wires were still live. But this explanation was not satisfactory for the family, especially not with the heavy loss they had to now deal with.
The Fungs began to write letters—both to Eversource and Governor Ned Lamont—to address what had happened. According to John Fung, there were at least 6 failures on Eversource’s part that could’ve been addressed to prevent the disaster that occurred. John Fung wrote that there were insufficient crews assessing the area, and none of the crews responded to the fires. After the fires were called in by the fire department, Eversource did not respond to address the cause of the fires. In addition, even though Eversource contractors showed up in the area and damage was assessed, nobody seemed to notice or act upon the imminent danger. In short, there was just a shortage of action on Eversource’s part.
If the electric company properly addressed any one of those scenarios, the death of Buddy could’ve been prevented. Rebecca Fung hoped that Buddy didn’t suffer too much when the electrocution happened. She also worries about her children, who all consider Buddy as more than just a pet. Labradors are some of the best family pets anyone could ever hope for. They are known for being kind, gentle, and friendly. Buddy was all of that and more. The entire neighborhood of Pootatuck Park knew who Buddy was, and even the mailman had no issues with the dog.
Although the hurt is there, the Fung family will move on but never forget Buddy and the happiness he brought. The goal of the Fungs now is to make Eversource accountable for their unfortunate part in everything that happened. Many people have reached out to the family to show their support, and some have even told their own negative experiences with the Eversource Company. According to Rebecca, they are not going after Eversource for money because they don’t even have the resource to pull that off. For the family, this is about prevention. They simply don’t want another family to experience what they have gone through in the last month. To suffer the loss of a pet is to suffer the loss of family. There’s no excuse for improper protocols and inaction, especially when it comes to dealing with life or death situations. The incident could’ve easily happened to one of the Fung’s kids, and the family is wondering if Eversource’s responses would’ve been different if it did. The only thing the Fungs can do now is continue to fight—for Buddy and the many others that Eversource services.