House wrecked by Wreck­house winds

Cape Anguille home­owner feels lucky to have es­caped in­jury

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSALYN ROY

It looks a lot like a bomb went off, but Wreck­house winds are the cause of de­struc­tion of a house in Cape Anguille, on the west coast of New­found­land.

On the morn­ing of March 15 wind speed in the area was recorded at 153 km/ h, the strength of a Cat­e­gory 2 hur­ri­cane.

On one side of the road two crushed ve­hi­cles and what’s left of the small house are vis­i­ble from un­der a wrecked roof.

On the other side of the road, large tufts of pink in­su­la­tion, splin­tered wood, strips of dry­wall and scat­tered de­bris lit­ter a slop­ing field al­most all the way down to the wa­ter. Even a mat­tress was blown out to sea, barely miss­ing yet an­other house as the winds car­ried it along.

Some­how Mary Loder es­caped un­harmed.

The Cape Anguille res­i­dent, who moved to the area this past win­ter, first no­ticed the high winds at 4 a.m., when she awoke to let her dog out.

She went back to bed, but got up two hours later.

She told TC Me­dia she had just stepped into the hall­way from the bath­room when her house came apart, buck­ling un­der the weight of the de­bris that had flown across the lawn from an­other house, crash­ing into her home.

“I didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing,” said Mary, at times wip­ing her eyes as she re­counted her con­fused panic.

She watched in dis­be­lief as the bath­room win­dow blew in­wards and tore the medicine cab­i­net off the wall. Be­liev­ing that her roof had blown off, she tried to reach her front door but found her­self tem­po­rar­ily trapped.

“Ev­ery­thing was com­ing in through.”

Gripped by shock, it took her a few mo­ments to re­mem­ber she had a back door too.

At first she didn’t re­al­ize that it wasn’t her house fly­ing in large pieces past the win­dows, but an un­oc­cu­pied house next door, be­long­ing to Gar­land Hil­liard.

Once she got out­side she found her brand new car and her boyfriend’s truck had been de­mol­ished as well; the two ve­hi­cles buried un­der the neigh­bor’s roof.

The house where Mary had been stay­ing, rented from son- in- law Ivan Hil­liard, was ru­ined, her pos­ses­sions ei­ther de­stroyed or lost to the winds.

One side of the build­ing, which had been un­der ren­o­va­tion, was gone. Also lost was the rel­a­tively new roof. The front deck he had built had been moved away from the house it­self.

“It all landed on top of my house and her two ve­hi­cles,” said Ivan, who had been en route to work when he learned what hap­pened and quickly turned back.

Com­pound­ing their wor­ries is lack of in­surance.

With­out a con­crete foun­da­tion Ivan was un­able to se­cure home­owner’s in­surance; Mary was de­nied renter’s in­surance for the same rea­son.

The owner of the house that blew apart, Gar­land Hil­liard, is Ivan’s un­cle.

He was also up­set to learn of the ex­tent of the dam­age. The house orig­i­nally be­longed to his mother but had been va­cant.

He says he had planned to de­mol­ish the house this spring.

“It was the last thing in the world I ex­pected to wake up to,” said Gar­land, who has yet to see the dam­age first­hand. He also heard about the mat­tress turned kite. “That was a screecher (of a wind);120 km/h is a nor­mal storm for us.”

Co­droy Val­ley Fire Chief Brian Os­mond says the de­part­ment didn’t get an emer­gency call, though he was aware of the con­di­tion of Gar­land Hil­liard’s house.

He de­nied ru­mors that the fire de­part­ment had con­sid­ered per­form­ing a con­trolled burn on the house last year, though he did ad­mit that some­one had in­quired as to the pos­si­bil­ity.

“We’re a vol­un­teer fire de­part­ment,” said Os­mond, stat­ing that al­though they could per­form a con­trolled burn, it de­pletes re­sources on a de­part­ment that has no real fund­ing. He says he has also de­nied sim­i­lar re­quests in the past and ad­vised the pe­ti­tion­ers they were re­spon­si­ble for any de­mo­li­tion or clear­ing of their prop­er­ties.

Both Ivan and Gar­land plan on pitch­ing in to clean up the mess soon. For Mary, com­ing to grips with the dis­as­ter may take a bit longer to clear away.

“I waited so long for this,” said Mary, her voice trem­bling. “Try­ing to do ev­ery­thing, try­ing to get ev­ery­thing done and you know, be com­fort­able.” Still, she is grate­ful to have es­caped in­jury. “I thank God ev­ery sec­ond,” she said, from the per­spec­tive of hav­ing sur­vived a hur­ri­cane force wind.

Much of this wrecked house still rests on top of Mary Loder’s two ve­hi­cles and home in Cape Anguille in the Co­droy Val­ley.

Mary Loder smiles de­spite hav­ing lost al­most ev­ery­thing. “It’s like a tor­nado,” she says about the strength of the winds that ru­ined her rental home.

Most of a neigh­bour­ing roof crushed Mary Loder’s brand new car and a nearby truck af­ter 153 kilo­me­tre per hour winds lev­elled a house in Cape Anguille last Wed­nes­day.

Ex­ten­sive dam­age to Ivan Hil­liard’s house, oc­cu­pied by his mother-in-law Mary Loder, now lists side­ways af­ter an­other house came crash­ing into it on the morn­ing of March 15.

Pink in­su­la­tion and var­i­ous other de­bris lit­ters a field in Cape Anguille in the Co­droy Val­ley.

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