100 homes damaged in central Ontario tornado

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jun 18, 2014 - 10:43 AM |
ANGUS, Ont. - The mayor of a central Ontario community says it's a miracle no one was hurt when a tornado ripped through the area on Tuesday.

Essa Township Mayor Terry Dowdall says about 100 homes were damaged in Angus, which is located in the township.

Dowdall, who joined other emergency officials this morning to give a brief update on the situation, says he has never seen such destruction in the community, which is located about 100 kilometres north of Toronto.

"Weather seems to be changing I think in the province of Ontario," he said. "But I've never seen, and basically no one's seen devastation quite like this (here)."

The tornado blew out windows, tore up fences and sheared off the tops of some homes when it hit at about 5:30 p.m. but caused no serious injuries.

"I think it was the right time of day," said Essa Fire Chief Cynthia Tustin, calling it an "amazing piece of timing."

"People weren't asleep... people were up and people were able to be aware of what's going on," she said.

"It was really a miracle that nobody was hurt at that time of day," added Dowdall.

Provincial police Const. Kelly Daniels says the priority now is to ensure homes are safe enough for people to go back inside and retrieve needed personal items like medication.

She says residents who have been displaced from their homes will be escorted by police and fire officials when they go inside and it will be done home by home.

"Now that we know everyone is safe, our job is to protect their property," said Daniels.

Emergency officials will also be holding a meeting with residents this afternoon at the Angus recreation centre to discuss what happens next.

"We're moving forward, we have a new day and a new plan," said Dowdall, adding building officials would immediately begin assessing properties.

He said efforts would be made to get people back into their homes as quickly as possible but the top priority would be to ensure the buildings are safe first.

Environment Canada confirmed Tuesday night that it was a tornado that struck Angus.

The weather agency had issued tornado warnings for several communities in the area as a line of severe thunderstorms with embedded tornadoes moved into the Lake Simcoe region.

Tustin said the fire department also sent messages out by Twitter warning people to take cover and get into their basements if possible.

The storms also cut electricity to several thousand homes and businesses, but power had been restored to most by morning.

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