Strong winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy were felt in the Beach in the early hours of Oct. 30. With wind gusts of over 100 km/h, the storm took down trees, hydro wires, and flooded some of the local streets.
On Lyall Avenue, Maureen Robinson and her husband Gary, a Beach Metro News volunteer carrier, were sitting at home with their two daughters when a massive tree came crashing onto their roof.
“We’ve been looking at that tree for quite some time…it was inevitable,” said Robinson. “It came down and it settled. The lights went out, then came on, and it settled some more. Then we called 9-1-1.”
No one was hurt and the Robinsons made it out of the house safely.
“Your life changes in a bit of a hurry and your priorities are different all of the sudden,” she said.
Toronto Police Service and Toronto Fire Services were extremely busy throughout the city responding to multiple calls.
“The emergency services were brilliant. The firefighters were here within five minutes, with the police,” said Robinson. “Our neighbours called us in and gave us hot tea. All our neighbours were ready to help us.”
On Neville Park Boulevard, Barry Wadman and his wife were sleeping when their neighbour’s red oak fell on their home just before 2 a.m.
“We were lying in bed fast asleep when there was this tremendous crash, bang, thump, and then we were lying in bed with drywall and insulation and dust,” explained Wadman.
The Wadmans made it out safely along with their dog. Their cat was still missing the morning after, likely hiding after the close call.
“It was incredibly scary. I just thought that we were lucky to be alive,” said Wadman.
An arborist had declared the tree healthy a few years ago according to Wadman, who is still concerned with some of the big trees in the Beach that are in close proximity to homes.
Darryl D’Silva, an insurance adjuster with First General Services, was on call all night and responded to the Wadmans’ property in the morning.
“This property’s damage is pretty severe, and they will likely need a permit and an engineer to make sure it’s safe for people here,” said D’Silva, adding that the damage on the Neville Park property was the worst he had seen all night.
Toronto Hydro, which had to restore power to over 60,000 of its customers, said that one of the worst affected areas was the Upper Beach. Power was restored to most areas by the weekend.