Several people have been injured and many more displaced after a tornado ripped through part of a city in the south of the Canadian province of Ontario, its mayor said as he expressed relief that no lives had been lost in the destruction.
Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman said that while the tornado that hit a neighbourhood in the city’s south end caused extensive property damage, as of Thursday evening, no deaths were reported and no-one appeared to be unaccounted for.
“I can’t tell you how incredible it is that nobody has been killed, and I hope that as all the secondary searches are completed and the patients are treated in the hospital, that that continues to be the case,” he said.
Paramedics said eight people were taken to hospital, including four who suffered serious injuries. Seven of those admitted to hospital were being treated for trauma and one for a medical condition, they said.
Others who suffered more minor injuries were treated at the scene, said Andrew Robert, the chief of paramedic services.
Fire officials said up to 25 buildings suffered significant damage, with roughly 20 considered uninhabitable at this time and two or three “completely destroyed.”
Earlier on Thursday, police spokesman Peter Leon said the tornado had also damaged gas lines and caused power outages.
The tornado tore through Anita Heyworth’s neighbourhood, ripping up her fence and carrying her backyard trampoline away as she pulled into her driveway with her six-year-old daughter, 16-year-old son and 70-year-old mother in tow.
“I saw the funnel cloud with my trampoline in it and I saw it go down my street, and I’m yelling, ‘duck!’ because all I could see was my debris coming towards my car,” Ms Heyworth said.