National News

Toll of Ontario tornado damage nearly done

Rick Felhazi (left) and Scott Imrie work with an aerial crew to secure tarps to the destroyed and missing rooftops in Angus, Ont. on Sunday, June 22, 2014 A confirmed F-2 tornado touched down on Tuesday. More than a dozen Hydro One Networks operations people were on hand to help the devastated area west of Barrie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Turchet -
Rick Felhazi (left) and Scott Imrie work with an aerial crew to secure tarps to the destroyed and missing rooftops in Angus, Ont. on Sunday, June 22, 2014 A confirmed F-2 tornado touched down on Tuesday. More than a dozen Hydro One Networks operations people were on hand to help the devastated area west of Barrie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Turchet
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By The Canadian Press

ANGUS, Ont. - Inspections of homes damaged by a tornado that ripped through a central Ontario community were expected to be completed on Sunday as volunteer hydro workers lent a hand to patch holes in battered houses.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Kelly Daniels says teams of building inspectors and engineers have finished checking 80 of the 101 residences affected when the twister struck Angus, in Essa Township some 100 kilometres north of Toronto. Tuesday's twister touched down in the early evening and left three people with minor injuries.

By Sunday afternoon, 14 homes were so badly damaged that they've been slated for demolition, Daniels said.

"All the other homes remain in varying stages, whether it's just a few shingles missing to reconstructing a wall or a roof."

Daniels says the community is on the mend, with the scene currently resembling a huge job site, with trucks and large garbage bins lining the roads.

"It's like a super large construction zone, really. That's what we're looking at — one large work zone."

She says things have improved to the point where daily meetings between officials and residents have been called off. Daniels added the state of emergency imposed on the area could be lifted within days.

"People are starting to move on with their lives. A lot of them are getting back into their homes" and working with hydro staff to get the power back on.

"All the residents — of course it's a very emotional time for them — but with the outpouring from the community of people donating items, food, non-perishables and then of course hearing about people volunteering their days on a weekend, it's hard for them to be upset when all that's coming together for them," she said.

Efforts to mend damaged roofs were helped out by squads of Hydro One workers who offered to help on their day off.

Hydro One spokeswoman Marylena Stea says a few dozen of the utility's workers — mainly line maintainers — arrived in eight bucket trucks to install tarps on about three dozen of the damaged homes. Their assistance comes in addition to crews working to reattach homes to the power grid.

"We'll keep going until the work is done," she said, adding the roof repairs were expected to be a one-day job.

A preliminary estimate by Environment Canada suggested the tornado that struck Angus had estimated wind speeds near 180 km/h.

— By Will Campbell in Toronto

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