No fewer than eight people were injured and four severely injured when a deadly tornado hit a neighbourhood in Barrie, Ont., recently.
During a recent press conference, the Mayor of Barrie, Jeff Lehman said there were no fatalities so far.
He said: “Everybody is accounted for, but it is early yet.”
He said fire officials revealed crews were checking “under every bed and behind every door” to make sure no one was entrapped in the rubble.
According to officials, around 20 homes were damaged, and “about three or four” would need to be reconstructed.
An Environment Canada tornado warning blasted recently over the airwaves and to cell phones as the skies went dark over the south end of the city and there was a heavy rain.
While talking about the tornado warning, a Barrie resident Sheldon Murphy revealed they were in the kitchen when the warnings sounded.
Murphy said: “We saw stuff starting to fly around in the air, spinning. That’s when we got everyone down in the basement. Then five minutes later, it started to clear up.”
Environment Canada meteorologist Steven Flisfeder established that it was a tornado that touched down later in the day.
He said: “At this time, based on images and videos, we can confirm that it was a tornado.”
The storm persisted for around 15 minutes and sirens followed as emergency crews went to the Mapleview Drive and Prince William Way area.
Barrie police made it known that thousands of people had no access to power as crews laboured to repair hydro lines.
Barrie police spokesman, Peter Leon said: “It looks very symbolic, unfortunately, to a war zone in places. The damage is catastrophic. It is significant, and it is major.”
Lehman revealed that the events of the day reminded him of when a tornado hit the Allandale area in the 80s.
He said: “I’m sure that people who lived through it in 1985, they can’t believe, like I, that here we are dealing with another serious tornado in the city of Barrie.
“But I can’t tell you how incredible it is that nobody has been killed, and I hope that as all the secondary searches are completed, and the patients are treated at the hospital, that it continues to be the case. This certainly could have been a much more serious disaster.”
Victims are being treated at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH).
The President and CEO of Barrie hospital, Janice Skot, said staff and physicians made themselves available “should extra resources be required.”
Furthermore, Simcoe County Paramedics offered triage at Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic School to any person who sustained injured in the storm.
Police have asked anyone who doesn’t live in the area not to go there.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford took to social media to express his sympathy for those affected by the storm.
He wrote: “My thoughts are with everyone in Barrie and Innisfil affected by the severe weather today. A big thank you to our first responders that are currently on the ground helping the situation. Please stay safe everyone!”
Barrie police have put in place a central phone line for anyone who needs assistance, call 705-728-8442.