Extensive damage has been reported in the south end of Barrie, just moments following a tornado warning being issued by Environment Canada.
Barrie Police spokesperson Peter Leon said a rallying point has been set up for those who live in the area but can’t access it due to the significant damage done to area roadways. “We’re asking them to make their way if they can to St. Gabriel’s elementary school which is on Prince William way. That’s the area right now from what I understand where people are gathering, and it can serve as a mustering point so to speak for families to be reunited.
County of Simcoe Paramedics are on scene at St Gabriel elementary school to assess and treat any walking wounded. The school is located at 130 Prince William Way. If you require assistance at your house, call 911 and speak to the operator for help. pic.twitter.com/FdOEUOHjDC— COSParamedic Service (@simcoecountyPS) July 15, 2021
Leon confirmed some residents did suffer injuries during the powerful storm. “People have been transported to a local hospital,” he told Barrie 360 from a command centre set up at the corner of Yonge and Madelaine Drive. “I don’t have any exact numbers right now. We’re in the process of trying to confirm that. But I do know that there has been some people that sustained some significant injuries.”
“We’re dealing with a very fluid event that is happening,” he added.
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre confirms it is treating a number of patients who suffered minor injuries during today’s storm. “Our team is highly skilled and trained to handle emergency situations as this,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “We are ready to provide whatever level of care and support needed. In fact, we have deployed a physician and nurse to the area to assist with determining if someone needs further care in our Emergency department. Our thoughts go out to the families and businesses impacted by the storm.”
One of the homes damaged by the storm belongs to Barrie City Councillor Natalie Harris. My son and I literally just came home and his dad called and said ‘get in the basement.’ We were in there for one minute and we heard the roof lift off. I came upstairs to the sky and the dust was in the coming down the stairs,” she told Barrie 360 on scene.
Not far away, resident Amenze Osashge had a similar tale, saying her home was damaged in seconds. “I was sleeping when my children told me that there was a tornado approaching, and we had barely a minute to go to the basement, and now we are not sure what to do.”
The City of Barrie, including its Mayor, Police Chief and Fire Chief were expected to update the public at a media conference at 7:30 Thursday evening.