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The Globe and Mail

Ontario town sees ‘significant damage’ from tornado

A tornado that swept through the central Ontario community of Angus on June 17, 2014, caused major damage to some 100 homes.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

A tornado that swept through the central Ontario community of Angus on Tuesday caused "significant damage" to 100 homes, including tearing off roofs, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

The twister touched down around dinnertime after a day of severe weather warnings in parts of Ontario, and hours after four men were hit by lightning on a golf course in Stouffville, northeast of Toronto. One of the men had to be revived by a nurse who happened to be nearby.

Essa Township declared a state of emergency after a tornado wreaked havoc in Angus, damaging 100 homes in a newer subdivision just off 5th Line and resulting in the evacuation of some 300 people.

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Despite the destruction, everyone has been accounted for, said OPP Constable Kelly Daniels, who added that three people were treated for minor injuries: an officer who injured his shoulder helping people seek cover, a person who was cut by broken glass and a woman who suffered chest pains.

"We're very lucky that there were very minor injuries," she said.

Police have cordoned off the area and are not allowing evacuees back into their homes until building inspectors and engineers determine that the structures are safe. However, officers and firefighters are accompanying residents who need to retrieve medication or other necessities.

"We certainly want to get the people in their houses as quickly as possible but, that being said, we want to make sure that the houses are safe," Mayor Terry Dowdall told reporters on Wednesday.

A residents' meeting is planned for Wednesday at 2 p.m. that will feature updates from civic officials, emergency responders and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she planned to visit the affected area soon "to offer my support."

"I know that the people of Ontario are strong," she said in a written statement. "The community has pulled together and is rallying around those who have been most impacted by the storm. This caring and compassion will help them as they rebuild."

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Uprooted trees covered Julie Eisses's friends' front yard, narrowly missing her home's living-room windows.

"That one came from across the road," she said, pointing to a toppled tree that almost reached the front door. "That's someone else's roof," she added, motioning to a large piece of wood with shingles attached.

Environment Canada's Rob Kuhn confirmed on Tuesday night it was a tornado.

In other parts of Angus, residents had only power outages, they were still shaken and in awe.

"I've never seen the lights go crazy like before; I thought I was in a disco hall," said Steve White, an employee of the local No Frills store.

"It honestly felt I could just [reach up] and touch the clouds," said Josh Kirschner, another employee.

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Earlier in the day, lightning hit four men at a golf club in Stouffville. Four men aged 51, 53, 56 and 60 were taken to local hospitals. One is in critical condition and the other three are stable, said York Regional Police, who responded to a call from the golf club in the late morning.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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