No set date for when Angus, Ont. residents can return home after tornado
Published Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:57PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 19, 2014 7:55PM EDT
Officials say approximately 300 residents remain displaced after a tornado struck the community of Angus, Ont. on Tuesday, and there’s no clear timeline for their return home.
"We have 102 homes affected,” Essa Fire Chief Cynthia Tustin said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Many residents still haven’t been allowed to return to their homes after a tornado touched down in Angus at approximately 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday, damaging property and injuring three people.
OPP Staff Sgt. Brian Humber explained natural gas lines and hydro lines in some of the homes could pose a risk to returning residents.
"We want our residents in their homes as soon as they want to be in there, but we need to make sure they are safe," Mayor Terry Dowdall said.
In the meantime, police and fire crews have accompanied some displaced residents to their homes, helping reunite them with their pets, or recover medication.
Amanda and Tim Leal, who had part of their roof torn off during Tuesday’s tornado, were able to retrieve some small items from their home, including wedding photos and clothes for their two small children.
“Living room all blown in, glass was just everywhere,” Amanda told CTV Toronto as she described the devastation. “We’ve been here for eight years and it’s hard to see everything wrecked and stuff that we’ve worked hard to get.”
The timing of the tornado could not be worse for Amanda, who was celebrating her birthday on Thursday.
“It’s a birthday I’ll never forget, that’s for sure. It will probably affect me for the rest of my life,” she said.
Amanda says she and her two little boys, 4-year-old Ethan and 6-month-old Logan, will most likely live in a rented home until their house is fully repaired.
Krystal Kearnan, another local resident whose home was also extensively damaged by the storm, was reunited with a pair of wedding rings after spotting them on a CTV Toronto news report Wednesday night.
“I called the OPP, told them that they were ours and what some of the engravings were on them, and now we have to head to get them,” Kearnan told CTV Toronto.
Officials have not given a timeline of when residents will be allowed to return to their homes, but are asking people to be patient as they try to sift through the devastation.
Meanwhile, authorities are working with local pharmacists to help deliver new prescriptions to residents who cannot retrieve their medications.
"The need was expressed for their medication and we asked people at that time to register with us so we could make arrangements," Tustin said. She added that before the end of Wednesday, 75 per cent of people contacted had received their medication or pets, and the remainder would receive them before noon on Thursday.
Tustin said many displaced residents had been staying with neighbours or relatives, and few had required housing. Residents still requiring assistance can dial 2-1-1, or visit the Essa Township website (link will be here)to get information.
"With regards to the minor injuries, everyone has been released from hospital. They were treated and released that night," OPP Const. Kelly Daniels said.
What comes next
Tustin said there was no timeline for when residents could return to their homes yet, noting that the damage varied among the homes that were affected.
"We have to make sure our plan works for everybody," Tustin said.
"I want to get in the house, but it's not gonna happen for a while," Angus resident James Vidal told CP24.
"It's all gone in seconds. We've got a lot of rebuilding to do," he added.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will visit Angus on Friday to tour the damage and meet with residents.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s John Musselman