Angus residents devastated, await permission to return home
It took only a few minutes for the tornado to leave a remarkable trail of damage.
Roofs and walls were torn right off homes, leaving the rooms and furniture exposed to the sky. More than 300 people have been put out of their homes by the tornado and 100 homes have been at least temporarily condemned. Thirty of those homes suffered extensive damage.
OPP Const. Kelly Daniels says police are securing the vacated neighbourhood to both keep people’s property safe and to prevent people from walking through the area for safety reasons.
“I know that it is not nice to be out of your home, but we can’t have people going in to places that are unsafe,” Daniels told reporters in one badly hit neighbourhood Wednesday morning. “There could be damage on one person’s property that may affect somebody else’s property and of course we need to look at foundations and things like that.”
For now, it's been a terrible blow for those residents.
However, there are many people who say they're thankful they survived what happened.
Terry Manning’s house is one of those 100. He was on his front porch when the tornado hit.
“I took one step into the house and it imploded all around me,” he says.
Dave and Yolanda Miller are expecting their first child in September. They just bought their home three weeks ago but now they're staying at a hotel in Barrie.
“This is our dream house,” says Yolanda Miller. “We've been saving for months and months and then we finally got it for less than three weeks.
Manning and the Millers are among those homeowners who can only watch as teams of building inspectors and engineers assess the damage house by house. The future of the neighbourhood is in the hands of engineers and investigators at this point, says Essa Township Mayor Terry Dowdall. A list will be posted each day on the town’s website and on signs to let residents know whether their home has been inspected, deemed safe, and whether they can return home.
Many, like Tasha Brandsam are waiting to know when that could be.
“We haven't gotten any bags or anything,” she says. “We're just dealing with insurance to get some clothes.”
Angus remains under a state of emergency, and town officials gave a progress report today.
Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson says because the township declared a state of emergency yesterday, it has qualified for some funding and he says he has made the province aware an application for help will be filed.
“They are well aware that an application will be coming,” Wilson says.
After a meeting with residents this afternoon, Dowdall says the biggest question he heard was when people could return home. There was a level of frustration during the meeting, but Dowdall says it’s only to be expected.
“I think people are frustrated, because we can’t give them that exact answer. There’s frustration there. People are out of their houses. They don’t have all of their items,” he says “They’re staying somewhere else. People are stressed.
But he says the township “has plans in place to address the majority of those issues.”
“Anything we can do to help out during this moment of trouble, we’re going to do,” he says.
Simcoe-Grey MP Kellie Leitch said while the damage in Angus is “devastating,” the community has come together to help.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” she said. “Everyone has come together. It’s amazing how neighbours help neighbours.”
- With files from Matthew Talbot