Canada Annex family still waiting for fallen tree to be removed from house after Friday’s wind storm

03:16  07 may  2018
03:16  07 may  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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Ramona Omidvar is seen with her children Maisha, 3, Nylah, 9, and Eligah, 6, outside their Annex home. They’ve been staying with relatives since Friday’s wind storm knocked a neighbour’s silver maple tree onto their house.© Rick Madonik Ramona Omidvar is seen with her children Maisha, 3, Nylah, 9, and Eligah, 6, outside their Annex home. They’ve been staying with relatives since Friday’s wind storm knocked a neighbour’s silver maple tree onto their house.

In the early hours of Friday afternoon’s wind storm, Ramona Omidvar got a frantic call from her 9-year-old daughter, Nylah, who was at home with her sister and a caregiver while her mother was still at work.

“She said, ‘Mommy, I’m scared of the wind. It’s too windy.’ I said ‘Nylah, you’re overreacting. Everything’s fine.’”

Everything was fine until about an hour later, when the wind rapped even harder against the windows, and then Nylah heard a loud crash. “I thought it was an earthquake,” she said.

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The girl ran outside with her little sister and saw the towering silver maple tree from their neighbour’s front yard had fallen onto their house. “It was very scary.”

Two days later, the tree is still leaning precariously against the roof of their house on Howland Ave. in the Annex, while Omidvar’s family of five has been forced to stay at her parents’ place.

“We’ve been told we’re not allowed in because it’s too dangerous,” she said.

Wind gusts reached 110 kilometres per hour on Friday, contributing to as many as five deaths in the GTA. Two arborists in Milton died when a tree fell on them as they cleared branches and debris from utility lines. A Hamilton man was killed, according to police, when he tried to move downed wires from the road. Another man was killed in the Yonge and College Sts. area when he was hit by falling scaffolding, but authorities have not confirmed whether that accident was due to the wind. Pat Bourguignon, a volunteer fire chief from Schreiber, Ont., was killed in Etobicoke late Friday night when he was hit by a car while crossing the road near an intersection where street lights were not working due to the power outage.

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Hydro crews have been working 24 hours a day to restore power across the city. Sixty-eight thousand customers were without power during the peak of the storm on Friday, and by Sunday afternoon the number was reduced to 2,900. Toronto Hydro asks people to report any fallen wires to police and to stay at least 10 metres away from them.

Omidvar, meanwhile, is frustrated the city has yet to deal with the tree leaning against her house. Beyond the inconvenience of not being able to go home, she’s worried the tree could cause another serious accident.

“It’s dangerous for the house beside us, it’s dangerous for our house and it’s also very dangerous for anyone driving or walking or biking by,” she said.

Omidvar’s neighbour’s house is in even worse shape, the tree having punctured a sizable hole in the roof.

Workers from Toronto Hydro and the city’s forestry department have assessed the tree, along with Toronto Fire Services, Omidvar said. But nothing has yet been done.

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Jane Arbour, a spokesperson for the city of Toronto, said she couldn’t specify when the tree on Omidvar’s house would be cleared, but that she should have more detailed information about the city’s cleanup efforts over the next few days. “Crews continue to respond to calls related to damage caused by Friday's wind storm and are assessing the extent of this damage,” Arbour said.

The tree — which has a diameter of roughly 1.2 metres, according to firefighters — is shifting, Omidvar said, adding that it may be causing more damage.

“It looks like it’s getting more precarious by the day.”

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