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Violent wind storm causes extensive damage, brings neighbours together

Click to play video: 'Clean-up underway in Montreal following violent wind storm' Clean-up underway in Montreal following violent wind storm
Hundreds of thousands of Hydro customers were left without power after a violent wind storm swept across Quebec. As Global's Dan Spector reports, the downed trees caused significant damage, but also brought one community closer together – May 5, 2018

A cold front making its way across Quebec late Friday night and into Saturday caused widespread power outages, leaving thousands in the dark. On one street in Pointe-Claire, the storm caused a dangerous spectacle, and forged a strong bond between a group of neighbours.

Wind gusts as strong as 100 km/hour battered several regions, downing trees and branches and damaging power lines.

At around 11 p.m., Suzanne Schiller and Jin Frati told Global News they looked out their window and saw their tree was on fire. It had collided with a downed hydro wire, creating a spectacular scene they say went on for an hour.

 

WATCH: Downed power line causes tree to explode

Click to play video: 'Montreal wind storm: Downed power line causes tree to explode' Montreal wind storm: Downed power line causes tree to explode
Montreal wind storm: Downed power line causes tree to explode – May 5, 2018

“I was thinking of moving the car out, because I figured the tree was going to come down. Then, I saw it hitting the hydro wire like that and I changed my mind,” Schiller told Global News.

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She and Frati said firefighters were on site, but couldn’t do anything until Hydro-Quebec cut the power.

Their neighbours across the street were watching too, and taking video of the fire in the tree. They were worried Schiller and Frati’s house might catch fire, but the wind pushed the flames in the opposite direction.

WATCH: Ferocious windstorm batters Eastern Ontario and Quebec

Click to play video: 'Ferocious windstorm batters Eastern Ontario and Quebec' Ferocious windstorm batters Eastern Ontario and Quebec
Ferocious windstorm batters Eastern Ontario and Quebec – May 5, 2018

“Jin and Suzanne were escorted out by the firefighters, and we invited them to watch the rest of the show from our balcony,” said Sean Berry, who lives across the street. He said the couple joined him at his home and they all watched together in awe.

READ MORE: After Montreal storm, musician to transform fallen tree into custom-made guitar

Hydro-Quebec said nearly 300,000 clients were affected by the storm.

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“There is widespread damage in the province right now,” said spokesman Serge Abergel. “On the North Shore, the Laurentians, Launaudiere, Outaouais, those areas were extremely hard hit. And the South Shore, Monteregie, Longueuil, Napierville, lots of damage there.”

Crews were quickly mobilized to restore power, and were gradually bringing customers back online.

READ MORE: Clean-up underway after severe storm, heavy winds rip through Montreal

“We literally have to rebuild small sections of the network, so it’s been quite a busy night for our crews. They’ve been working nonstop,” said Abergel.

Hydro-Quebec is asking customers to be patient, saying it can’t provide a timeline of when power will be back up.

“It would be nice to get our electricity back,” said Schiller. “But it’ll probably take a while to re-assemble all this.”

After their ordeal, Schiller and Frati are looking on the bright side.

“It wasn’t the house, it wasn’t us, it was just the outside. It’s a wonderful life,” said Jin Frati.

Their neighbour, Berry, appreciated the company.

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“It turned into a nice soiree with nice house guests,” he told Global News.

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