The city’s mayor said Saturday that a tornado that struck a neighborhood in Barrie, Ont. on Thursday left 71 homes vulnerable.
Jeff Lehman said in a Twitter video that residents are lifting items from their homes damaged by the EF-2 tornado on Thursday afternoon, but are being moved to the neighborhood where the twister touched down on the southeast end of the city.
The tornado sent 10 people to the hospital. Two were still in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries as of Friday.
“We don’t want anyone else to get hurt,” Lehmann said.
Lehmann said while clean-up is underway, officials are assessing damaged homes, clearing debris from roads and providing assistance to affected residents. The tornado damaged about 150 houses on a five-km-long route. In some places the path was as wide as 100 meters.
“We know that some of them will be repaired relatively quickly, and others, of course, like some of these across the road, will be very long,” he said.
Lehmann said that “an enormous amount of work is already underway” as reconstruction and recovery continue.
One road in the area, Prince William Way, has been reopened to traffic only for local residents and recovery crews. The tornado struck the area of Mapleview Drive and Prince William Way.
Lehmann said utility companies including Elektra Utilities and Enbridge Gas are on the spot to restore power and gas.
The area where the tornado hit is currently a restricted area and there is no access without proper identification.
The city of Barrie said in a news release on Saturday that it is urging residents who do not live in the restricted area to stay off closed roads and the surrounding area because it said the extra traffic hinders recovery work. .
According to the city, there have been reports of people trying to enter damaged homes, on which unsafe orders have been posted.
“It’s not safe and you could be injured or trapped. Homes where unsafe orders have been posted could cause extensive structural damage. Stay away from damaged buildings until they’ve been assessed,” the city said in the release. can go.”
A professional engineer’s report is required if a home has suffered structural damage or if a homeowner has received an unsafe order from the city’s building department, the city added.
‘Stuff can be changed, right?’ residents say
John Hunwicks, a Peel Region paramedic who owns one of the homes deemed unsafe to enter, said what is important is that no one was killed by the tornado, adding that he was grateful That’s “all right.”
“It’s shocking,” Hunvix said of the loss. But he added: “Stuff can be changed, right? Houses can be rebuilt. Furniture and everything can be changed.”
Barrie Fire Chief Corey Mainprise says the city is working with the community to restart services, returning people to their homes in cases where they are allowed to do so and those who are not. Come support them.
“We are transitioning from a rescue operation to recovery and support,” Mainprice said.
Mainprice said city engineers are still assessing severely affected homes for structural stability before the debris can be safely removed.
Donations for residents fill out the local school gym
Meanwhile, donations have filled a local school gymnasium for residents affected by the tornado. The city is now redirecting donations to the Salvation Army and asking donors to give money or gift cards instead.
Laurie Thomas, a volunteer at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic School, which has been converted into an evacuation centre, said food, clothing, toiletries and diapers were left behind by members of the community. The school has a crisis support team.
“We have basically everything someone would need to make this moment a little bit better for them,” she said.
I honestly don’t have words. This is St. Gabe’s Gym, a donation of food, clothing, supplies, etc. to tornado victims in the last 36 hours. We are now asking anyone who would like to donate $ or gift cards through the Salvation Army to donate. pic.twitter.com/3SUqOvmLkP
On Friday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford visited the devastated area, thanked emergency workers, spoke to residents and got a first look at the damage.
Ford promised residents that the province would help if insurance companies did not cover the cost of repairs.