Emergency services are conducting a second search of damaged homes and buildings in the wake of Thursday’s tornado in south Barrie that injured 11 people, none with life-threatening injuries.
Fire Chief Cory Mainprize told a media briefing on Thursday evening that hundreds of calls were received around 3 p.m. about a tornado touching down. The most severe damage is in the area of Mapleview Drive and Prince William Way.
“Multiple structures were affected, with approximately 20 to 25 suffering significant damage and two or three being completely destroyed,” said Mainprize.
Mayor Jeff Lehman urged the public to help first responders by staying clear of the area.
“For those who are in the area or who have family in the area, please try and be patient,” said Lehman. “I know this is an incredibly difficult day. But giving our first responders the time they need to do that search to make sure that the homes are safe and that the people are safe is job number one.”
“I think that we are so fortunate tonight not to be standing here talking about the loss of life,” Lehman added.
Anyone displaced by the storm is being assisted through an evacuation centre.
“Some people will require some supportive housing. We will work with our partners at Red Cross in the county to provide that to anyone who needs it,” Mainprize said. “Whatever needs come up, we’ll do our best to be able to meet them, and I’m sure with the support of the community we will be able to do that.”
Lehman said they learn quickly what people’s needs are.
“You want to make sure they have what they need right away in terms of food, medication and water. We’re often able to supply that through agencies. There will come a time when people who have lost all their possessions need things and I am sure this community will support them.”
Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood explained the priority of police during this event is the safety of those impacted and to ensure there is security for the affected area.
She praised the assistance Barrie police received from South Simcoe Police and Ontario Provincial Police.
Alectra is continuing to restore power to homes in south Barrie impacted by the storm. Lehman estimated up to 1,000 customers would likely remain without hydro overnight.
The City of Barrie will release new information as soon as it becomes available. Ongoing public information about the situation will be posted on our website at barrie.ca and our social media channels.
In the interest of public health and safety the following safety precautions are requested:
- Please stay clear of the Mapleview and Prince William Way area so that all emergency teams are able to do their job
- Stay tuned to the media for further updates
- Do NOT call 911 unless it is a life-threatening situation
feature image: Barrie 360