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High winds wreak havoc in Thunder Bay, tear off part of hospital roof

Sep 21, 2018 05:23PM ● By Editor
A piece of metal flashing blew off the roof of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre on Friday.(Supplied)

From CBC News · September  21, 2018

The west entrance to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was closed for a period on Friday after a piece of the roof blew off.

Hospital spokesperson Tracie Smith said a piece of metal flashing in the main entrance area was torn off by high winds.

There were no injuries, and the remaining flashing had been secured by late in the afternoon.

The hospital had closed the west and main entrances to the hospital, and partially closed sidewalks and roads in the area, Smith said. However, all were re-opened by about 3:45 p.m.

High winds brought down this tree at a house on Ray Boulevard in Thunder Bay on Friday. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Don Forneri witnessed the incident as he was leaving the hospital after an appointment. He described hearing a loud crash, which he compared to thunder, as the piece of roof landed about eight feet from him.

"I was just coming out the door and going to go wait for my bus," he said. "All of a sudden, part of the roof just came right out and it landed on the ground."

"Three or four objects came off, and it shattered. And then after that, the wind picked up, and there was more coming, potentially going to fall off the roof, and it was just hanging."

Firefighters busy

Greg Hankkio, Thunder Bay deputy fire chief, said the high winds were taxing resources, as firefighters responded to 25 calls between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

The calls were still coming in as of about 1:45 p.m. Friday, and most dealt with trees down on hydro lines, which, in some cases, led to fires.

Hankkio said the calls were spread out across Thunder Bay, but no injuries had been reported.

Thunder Bay Hydro said as of 2:15 p.m. Friday,  there were 13 power outages in the city and around the area, related to the high winds.

Less than 1,000 people were estimated to be affected by the outages, the utility said.

Thunder Bay Hydro is reminding people to stay away from downed power lines, and if they see them to report them by calling 911.

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