September 27, 2018 4:06 pm
Updated: September 27, 2018 4:09 pm

Nepean businesses look to rebuild after devastating Ottawa-area tornadoes

Damage can be seen behind to FiiT House on Colonnade Road after last Friday's tornado in Nepean.

John Robinson Photo

Several businesses in Nepean are in the process of rebuilding after the tornadoes that ripped through Nepean last Friday heavily damaged their buildings, including two businesses who had their roof torn off.

Steven Kimmel, president and chief brand officer of Westboro flooring on Colonnade Road, says he lost almost half a million dollars in stock but is thankful that no one was hurt.

WATCH: An Ottawa-area farmer on how to rebuild after the tornado

Kimmel had insurance, but all of the stock in the warehouse is held after purchase, not on spec. According to Kimmel, Westboro flooring supplies a large portion of the builders in the city so it had to be restocked.

Kimmel says that he’s just happy nobody was hurt during the storm, including his neighbours in the same building.

FiiT House, a gym next to the warehouse and they, also had its roof torn off — and right in the middle of a fitness class.

READ MORE: ‘It’s extremely overwhelming’: After tornado shock, Kinburn farm begins long road to recovery

John Robinson is the owner of FiiT House, and a few of his staff and some gym-goers were just finishing up an end-of-the-week workout when the storm hit.

“They were running, the class, and the lights went out, so they decided to finish with a stretch,” said Robinson. “The building then starts shaking, doors were rattling and windows began to blow open.”

WATCH: Demolition work begins on tornado-ravaged homes

Robinson goes on to say that once the heavy winds and crashing began, everyone in the building “sandwiched” into the bathroom to wait out the storm. Robinson says his staff could see the roof begin to shake and the air conditioning unit, which was right over top of the classroom, was ripped out of the ceiling, followed shortly by the rest of the roof.

Nobody was hurt and the next day, Robinson and his staff had the opportunity to survey the damage.

The buildings right next to us had no damage,” said Robinson, “including the parking lot. No damage to buildings on either side.”

READ MORE: A third tornado hit Ottawa area, says Environment Canada

WATCH: Nepean residents start to clean-up post-tornado

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Robinson, much like Kimmel, was just happy that nobody was hurt during the storm, considering there were 10 people in the gym at the time.

“Its just bricks and mortar; it can all be replaced,” said Robinson.

Robinson says it’ll take about two months before the gym can open up again. Not only was the roof removed but once it was gone, the rain poured in and the majority of the floors are made up of hardwood and the walls of drywall, which will all have to be replaced.

READ MORE: Ottawa, Gatineau reeling after tornado tears through communities

Robinson and Kimmel both thanked others in their respective industries for stepping up and helping out. Kimmel’s suppliers have replaced the majority of the stock damaged during the storm, and Robinson’s classes continue for now at another local gym until FiiT can get back up and running.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with everyone who was affected by the storm,” said Kimmel. “Thank you to the first responders, neighbours and community members who stepped up throughout the city to help those in need.”

“We must continue to work together in the aftermath of this horrific storm to rebuild what was lost.”


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