At one point four work crews were busy repairing damage from the storm on Phoenix Avenue. Photo by John Boivin

At one point four work crews were busy repairing damage from the storm on Phoenix Avenue. Photo by John Boivin

Emergency crews work to restore Rossland utilities after powerful windstorm

The brief but destructive storm blew through the city on Friday afternoon

Emergency crews were busy in Rossland on Saturday trying to restore services to the community.

A powerful windstorm on Friday afternoon blew through town at about 4:30 p.m., uprooting trees and knocking down power lines.

The storm left more than 1,200 customers without power for about five hours, and damaged phone, cable, and gas lines.

On Saturday morning repair crews from FortisBC, Telus and Shaw Cable were scattered around the city, effecting repairs.

About 30 people were still without heat or power, according to Fortis.

The storm knocked down 150-year-old trees, like the one in Charity Biermann’s front yard. She says her husband and children were in the house at the time. They spent the evening without gas or power.

“My kids went over to my mom’s and had a campfire. We kind of cuddled under duvets all night,” she said. “It’s too bad. It was a gorgeous tree. It was healthy.”

The massive spruce pulled up the front walkway into the house, blocked the driveway, and ripped power and phone lines from their poles. One pole was being replaced as Biermann watched.

Still, she’s counting her blessings.

“It was lucky the way it fell,” she says. “It would have done a huge amount of damage to the house.”

Not all residents were so lucky. A few blocks away, the damage was much worse.

“The neighbour behind me, a big spruce tree came down and took his house out while he was in it,” said Troy Colautti, surveying the repair work going on outside his house on Phoenix Avenue in Lower Rossland.

“I went over to make sure he was all right, meanwhile these two trees here came down on Phoenix and took out everybody’s power and gas lines, the whole nine yards.”

Four emergency crews were busy restoring lines on Phoenix and Union Avenues on Saturday morning.

The power of the brief storm surprised Colautti.

“It lasted maybe a half an hour,” he said. “There was a lot of stuff flying around.”

Colautti says he and his neighbours were evacuated from the area for about three hours while crews tried to control the gas leak.

Fortis estimated power would be restored to the final few dozen customers by Saturday afternoon.

The storm that hit Rossland was part of a much larger system that blew through the southern Interior on Friday, knocking out services to more than 120,000 customers of BC Hydro alone.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The storm brought down a tree that smashed into a home on Union Avenue in Lower Rossland. No one was injured by the fall. Photo by John Boivin

The storm brought down a tree that smashed into a home on Union Avenue in Lower Rossland. No one was injured by the fall. Photo by John Boivin

David Hall, a line worker with Shaw Cable, was busy repairing lines on Phoenix Avenue on Saturday morning. Photo by John Boivin

David Hall, a line worker with Shaw Cable, was busy repairing lines on Phoenix Avenue on Saturday morning. Photo by John Boivin

Just Posted

Pioneer Arena is closing for the season. Photo: John Boivin
Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season

RDCK is closing the ice at two of its arenas due to financial concerns related to COVID-19

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy is the largest protected area in southeastern B.C. Photo: B.C. Parks
Province adds land to Valhalla and Purcell parks

Both additions enhance the parks’ ecological values, the province says

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read