CLOSE CALL ON PA­TIO

Do­min­ion House Tav­ern owner Bil­lie Jo Zacher sur­veys the dam­age from Mon­day night’s storm that caused two large trees to fall onto the tav­ern’s vol­ley­ball courts, as well as a large branch to drop onto the pa­tio where pa­trons had been sit­ting.

Windsor Star - - NEWS - TREVOR WIL­HELM

Sev­eral peo­ple nar­rowly avoided se­ri­ous in­jury Mon­day when a pow­er­ful storm ripped a 120-yearold tree out of the ground at a west end bar, tossed an­other tree onto the pa­tio and sent a picnic ta­ble fly­ing.

Do­min­ion House co-owner Bil­lie Jo Zacher said her staff helped avoid a po­ten­tial tragedy af­ter sens­ing the weather was turn­ing ugly and mov­ing cus­tomers in­side — about two min­utes be­fore the de­struc­tion hit.

“The one big tree, it’s like 120 years old, it’s pulled right out from the ground,” Zacher said Tues­day. ‘The roots are huge. That’s on the vol­ley­ball courts. So the vol­ley­ball courts are com­pletely dam­aged. Then an­other huge tree fell onto the top layer of the pa­tio. Busted all the rail­ings. The ta­bles are ev­ery­where. Chairs are ev­ery­where. Tree branches ev­ery­where. A picnic ta­ble is un­der­neath one of trees. I’m as­sum­ing the wind picked it up and threw it there.”

Peter Kim­bell, a warn­ing pre­pared­ness me­te­o­rol­o­gist with En­vi­ron­ment Canada, said a strong storm cell hit the west side of Wind­sor around 9 p.m. It hov­ered there a cou­ple min­utes be­fore mov­ing east across the rest of the city. It was not a tor­nado, he said.

“It’s pretty in­tense, yes, but it does not ex­hibit any kind of ro­ta­tion,” said Kim­bell. “So I would con­clude that it was a strong gust of wind that could have been a down­burst and would have been re­spon­si­ble for caus­ing the dam­age.”

Zacher had ar­rived just be­fore 9 p.m. and was sit­ting out front.

“When I was driv­ing there it was crazy rain­ing, heavy winds,” she said. “The sky was like pink, green, grey. Then I pulled up out front and it stopped rain­ing. It just went calm. I thought, ‘Oh, OK, it’s over.’ ”

One of her em­ploy­ees came run­ning around the cor­ner. Things weren’t so calm on the other side of the build­ing.

“They thought we were hit with a tor­nado be­cause of all the dam­age,” said Zacher.

Luck­ily, she said, her em­ploy­ees had brought ev­ery­one in­side. Cus­tomers were on the pa­tio watch­ing sports on the bar’s new 120-inch pro­jec­tion screen — now de­stroyed — that was in­stalled two days ear­lier.

“That staff de­cided that some­thing was go­ing to hap­pen just from the clouds and the wind,” said Zacher.

“The weather was chang­ing too much. It was pick­ing up wind. So they got ev­ery­body in­side to be safe. When they came back out, ev­ery­thing was down.”

Af­ter get­ting over the shock of what had just hap­pened, they checked the se­cu­rity cam­eras.

“From the time that they left the pa­tio and went in, it was two min­utes to when the tree fell on the pa­tio where the cus­tomers had been sit­ting,” said Zacher. “So I was re­ally thank­ful and proud that they took con­trol like that.”

DAX MELMER

PHO­TOS: DAX MELMER

A fallen tree is shown Tues­day in the 3100 block of Sand­wich Street af­ter a Mon­day storm caused it to crash into the vol­ley­ball courts and pa­tio at the Do­min­ion House Tav­ern. The tree is “like 120 years old, it’s pulled right out from the ground,” said bar co-owner Bil­lie Jo Zacher.

A large branch sits on the pa­tio on Tues­day where pa­trons had been sit­ting Mon­day night just be­fore a tree crashed down af­ter a strong storm.

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