Storms wreak havoc in re­gion

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jil­lian Mc­Kee

MT DRUITT res­i­dents and State Emer­gency Ser­vices are still mop­ping up af­ter the area was the worst af­fected in a vi­o­lent storm that swept through Syd­ney last week.

Hun­dreds of cars and homes were dam­aged by fallen trees and thou­sands were left with­out power.

Mt Druitt SES re­ceived 411 calls for as­sis­tance on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, which was the largest num­ber in the state.

Mt Druitt SES cap­tain Peter Lalor said it was the worst dam­age he had seen in the area.

“This was the most ex­ten­sive dam­age I have seen in Mt Druitt since I be­gan work­ing here in 1985,” Mr Lalor said.

“Vol­un­teers from all over the state, from Muswell­brook to Mo­long and from Strath­field and the Hawkes­bury, have been aid­ing in the clean-up.”

Al­though the SES had at­tended to most of jobs, Mr Lalor said the clean-up was on­go­ing.

“The clean-up is go­ing to take years – there are thou­sands of trees down. But we only have about four or five jobs left to at­tend to,” he said.

Mr Lalor ad­vised storm-af­fected res­i­dents not to con­tact their lo­cal SES unit, but to phone 13 25 00.

“If you are af­fected by storm dam­age still, please ring 13 25 00 – do not ring the lo­cal SES unit,” he said.

“If it is en­gaged or busy, please hang in there. It is im­per­a­tive you use that num­ber so we get the mes­sage as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

In Whalan, Linda Bocxe nar­rowly avoided be­ing hit by a tree that crashed into her home.

“I just moved from that cor­ner of the house, where the tree came through in the sun­room,” Ms Bocxe said.

“I would have been knocked out and crushed. It was lucky the rest of the fam­ily was at work. It was only me and my youngest home. I was try­ing to keep an 11-year-old from go­ing hys­ter­i­cal.”

Ms Bocxe said she was just glad no one was in­jured, but she did not have home and con­tents in­sur­ance.

“I was stand­ing at the front and a tram­po­line blew up the road,” she said.

“Next minute, there was a mas­sive bang and a tree came through the sun­room, kitchen and lounge­room. Since then, one has gone through my el­dest son’s bed­room.”

Rain dam­age also caused a sec­tion of ceil­ing to col­lapse at Mt Druitt West­field.

The ceil­ing fell on to the floor out­side Wool­worths and a nearby Tele­Choice phone store.

The area was closed off by staff as the area be­neath started to fill with wa­ter.

Mt Druitt res­i­dent John Svoboda wit­nessed the event and said the fall­ing ceil­ing just missed shop­pers.

The en­trance to Mt Druitt West­field, on the cor­ner of Carlisle Ave and Kur­ra­jong Rd, also was badly flooded in the storm, leav­ing cars and shop­pers stranded.

Mt Druitt SES used so­cial me­dia to thank res­i­dents for their time dur­ing the cleanup.

“Sup­port from lo­cal res­i­dents and busi­nesses has been grate­fully re­ceived and I also thank the fam­i­lies of all the SES and RFS vol­un­teers for let­ting us ‘bor­row’ their part­ners, fa­thers, moth­ers, sons, daugh­ters and friends,” Mr Lalor said.

This was the most ex­ten­sive dam­age I have seen in Mt Druitt since I be­gan work­ing her in 1985

– PETER LALOR

Pic­tures: PETER KELLY

Cars in Lux­ford Rd, at Mt Druitt, felt the full ef­fects of the storm (above) as trees were felled by the strong winds (right) and crashed into carparks, roads and into houses.

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