Workers from the Davey Tree Expert Company remove a 100-year-old red oak tree from Neville Park Boulevard homes earlier today. Toronto was in the path of what was Hurricane Sandy, which brought strong winds overnight to the GTA.

East-end homes damaged by fallen tree as Sandy blows through town

Neville Park Boulevard resident Gillian Wadman thought she was being buried alive when she was woken up at 2 a.m. this morning.

“I remember waking up and thinking I was dying,” Wadman said. “I was sleeping on my stomach and there was wood and drywall around me.”

What was left of Hurricane Sandy blew through Toronto at sustained winds of 65 km/h last night, when the 100-year-old red oak tree next door fell and took out the back part of Wadman’s house near Victoria Park Avenue and Queen Street East.

“It came down on the bed, and fell into the living room and kitchen,” Wadman said. “We had to crawl out. It was scary.”

She doesn’t know where she’ll be spending the night tonight, she said.

“They said we can’t go back in the house,” Wadman said. “The chimney is cracked and the house is shifting.”

There was a lot of rumbling and shaking, and then a huge bang.

—Andrew Spence

The red oak also hit Andrew Spence’s house, taking out a chunk of his roof.

He woke up to what he thought was the sound of a train hitting his house, he said.

“There was a lot of rumbling and shaking, and then a huge bang,” Spence said. “When I woke up, I realized it was a tree.”

He said he immediately thought about the Wadmans.

“I was worried about my neighbours because their house took far more of the hit than mine,” he said.

The Davey Tree Expert Company arrived at the scene at 7 a.m. to remove the tree, said Trevor White, a Davey worker.

White said he has seen damage similar to this in the past.

“When the winds get high enough, we always see storm damage,” White said.

Despite the damage, Spence said he felt lucky.

“It could’ve been a lot worse,” he said, adding his neighbours have been very supportive.

“I don’t have power and one neighbour came out with coffee and breakfast for me,” he said. “Another one lent me a tarp to cover up the car because the windshield is gone.”

One storm-related casualty has been reported in Toronto. A Staples sign fell on a woman in the Keele Street and St. Clair Avenue West area last night. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

One comment:

  1. .This is so sad but not unusual in our Beach neighbourhood. We had a city tree do damage to our home and car over the August civic holiday weekend when the weather was calm and beautiful, just the tree had it’s day and fell due to rot at the fork. Unfortunatly, the city is not willing to pay up because they had it inspected two years before. I just think that there is more to these stories – and the inspection process – obviously the inspections are not thorough enough or how and what they are inspecting is not adequate for these aging trees. It was obvious in our case that the city tree was rotten at the fork and the inspectors did not catch this although it is an obvious area to check as water gathers in these forks and over time the area is more and more vulnerable and eventually gives way. I think inspectors maybe should change their methods especially with aging trees. As the couple on Neville Park had concerns which were proven out, it will be an increasing burden on insurers to pay for damages which in some way perhaps could be avoided. This maybe could be a follow up story, Thanks, Karen McDonald

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