WATCH ABOVE: Many families are still out of their homes following a tornado in Angus last month. There is no word on when they might be able to return. Laura Zilke reports.
ANGUS, Ont. – Many of the more than 100 families whose houses were damaged when an EF2 twister tore through Angus, Ont. are still uncertain when they will be able to return home.
Richard Singh is one of the homeowners whose house will be completely rebuilt. He said he has “no idea” when he’ll be able to move back in.
Singh, his wife and two children have been lucky, he said.
Singh was on his way home from work when the twister hit; his two children were across the street with their babysitter.
“Had it hit when we got home, the debris that was in that master bedroom – we would’ve been trapped underneath it.”
Normally, on the way home from his construction job, Singh says he picks up the kids, then goes home to have a shower.
“My older daughter sits in the bedroom and looks after the baby,” he said. “I like to keep them close so I can hear what’s going on while I’m having a shower.”
Debris is still scattered on the floor of the master bedroom – the roof totally torn off, a tarp now blowing in its place. Blue sky can be seen sky through a rough-edged plywood portion of the west wall of the home when Singh lifts a corner of the tarp.
“Something came flying through there, and penetrated over there somehow,” he said, pointing to another hole across the room.
Singh said he knows it will be a long process to get back to practical repairs now that the shock is wearing off.
All along Stonemount Crescent, roofs are covered with white or blue tarps and doors are still showing spray-painted x’s.
Home after home has windows with various notices of permits or condemnation.
The houses sit empty, no homeowner available to explain what type of damage they are dealing with. There are only a handful of houses that are liveable on the south side of the eerily quiet street.
The most recent estimates from officials suggest about $30 million in insurance claims have been filed from businesses and homeowners in the township of Essa, following the tornado. There is no word on how disaster relief funds will be divided in the municipality as it waits for word on its provincial disaster application.
Singh said he has been grateful for the compassion that has been offered from his insurance provider.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I question if I’m dealing with an insurance company, after some of the things you hear.”
He has been told it will take six to eight months before his house will be rebuilt; some of his neighbours could be out for a year, maybe more.
The company handling the restoration of his home, Winmar, said one of the reasons for the uncertainty is a lack of skilled workers. Because there was so much damage in the neighbourhood, “there is a lineup” for good, reliable companies, said Andrew Weisz of Winmar.
“We certainly have our preferred companies that we like to work with.”
The Singh family is now renting one of the few homes on the street that was untouched by the twister.
“I can actually look out the door and see my house and see who is there, “ said Singh.
He said his family doesn’t feel like they have gone too far, and hopefully not for too long.