Nfld. & Labrador

High winds literally blow the roof off Baie Verte business

"It's an unfortunate event, but we're very happy that nobody was hurt," says owner Mike Shelley.

'It's an unfortunate event, but we're very happy that nobody was hurt,' says owner Mike Shelley

A portion of the roof had blown onto a couple of parked vehicles at the Baie Verte business. (April MacDonald/Twitter)

Winds were so strong across Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday that a large section of the roof was literally torn off a business in Baie Verte.

Mike Shelley owns the 10,000-square-foot building, which houses his business Bodyworks Fitness and Physiotherapy, as well as the community's youth centre and a couple other businesses.

Just thanking our lucky stars that nobody was hurt.- Mike Shelley

Winds Thursday were gusting over 100 kilometres an hour, when "quite a large portion" of the roof of the building flew off, Shelley told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning on Friday.

"It basically blew up over top of the power lines and right over to the other side of the road. A couple other pieces then proceeded to come off after that, as well, and kind of land in neighbouring business parking lots," he said, adding one piece landed on top of parked vehicles.

It's not yet clear when the building will reopen. (April MacDonald/Twitter)

"It's an absolute miracle and very fortunate that nobody was injured and there were no pedestrians or any other vehicles passing by at the time, so we were very fortunate."

The building is around 35 or 40 years old, Shelley said, but the roof is relatively new, at 11 years.

"I never dreamed that the roof itself would end up blowing off like it did yesterday," said Shelley, who on Thursday was working at his other clinic located in Springdale.

'Thanking our lucky stars'

Shelley said he's not had serious issues with the roof before, other than a couple of small leaks in the back portion of the building, so it was a surprise when he got the call that the fire department had to block off the area because of the debris.

"It appeared that more of the roof may come off, so just erring on the side of caution they blocked the road and secured the area until it was safe to let people pass through."

"It was just kind of lucky timing I guess that nobody was passing by and in the area, because again, it was a very large piece of the roof. Just thanking our lucky stars that nobody was hurt."

The huge section of metal roof blew off the building, over the power lines and across the street. (April MacDonald/Twitter)

The building remains closed, Shelley said, while he awaits an assessment, and his insurance company will want to investigate, as well, so he's not sure when it will reopen.

"They don't want us in there until they do an assessment to make sure it is safe to re-enter obviously," he said.

Most of the roof that flew off came from above the portion of the building that houses the youth centre, Shelley said, and there are spots that are completely exposed to the elements.

Shelley said he's grateful the weather hasn't been too bad and there's been no rain, so damage is minimized to the roof for now, he thinks.

In the meantime, Shelley said he hopes to have more information by Friday afternoon, and people in the area should check his company's social media channels for updates.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning

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