Calabogie residents 'banded together' after tornado hit, officials say

Municipal officials in Calabogie, Ont., say more than two dozen homes will need to be repaired after a tornado tore through the eastern Ontario community late last week.

More than 2 dozen homes damaged in eastern Ontario town

A backhoe lifts a tree felled by a tornado that touched down in Calabogie, Ont., on Sept. 21, 2018. Township officials say more than two dozen homes will likely need to be repaired following the storm. (CBC)

Township officials in Calabogie, Ont., say more than two dozen homes will need to be repaired after a tornado tore through the eastern Ontario community late last week.

On Monday, Environment Canada confirmed an EF-1 tornado pummeled the town on Sept. 21, bringing with it winds of up to 175 kilometres an hour.

It was one of six tornadoes that touched down in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

Glenda McKay, the mayor of Greater Madawaska Township, said the community's response following the storm was "fabulous."

"By the time we got to a lot of the properties, people had already come over to help them get the debris cleared up and help them board up windows and put tarps on roofs," McKay said.

McKay said she didn't get her power back until Monday, however.

"It's hard because in a rural community ... your water comes from your well," she said. "If you don't have power, you don't have water coming up from your well."

Glenda McKay, the mayor of Greater Madawaska Township, said the response after a tornado touched down on Sept. 21, 2018, in Calabogie, Ont., was 'fabulous.' (CBC)

'They banded together'

Darryl Wagner, the town's fire chief, was in nearby Renfrew, Ont., when the storm started rolling in.

He jumped in his vehicle and headed back to Calabogie. When he arrived, he saw trees knocked down and hydro poles snapped in two.

Wagner said the tornado damaged about 25 to 30 residences and tore the roof off the town's main power generating station.

Luckily, he said, most people in the community had their own generators, so they could keep their refrigerators and freezers going during the post-tornado blackout.

"Everybody was pretty good about it. I mean, they were all pretty calm," he said. "I'll admit that this township, they banded together, they went out and helped each other."

Darryl Wagner is the fire chief in Calabogie, Ont. He said the Sept. 21, 2018 tornado damaged homes and tore down hydro poles. (CBC)

Wagner also offered some advice to residents of the town, roughly 100 kilometres west of Ottawa, for riding out the next natural disaster.

"This is such a rare occurrence, but maybe start thinking about, you know, planning for 72 hours to be on your own," Wagner said.

"If it ever happens [again] and it's something that's even more major, we may not be able to get to everybody."

Darryl Wagner, the fire chief in the town of Calabogie, drove in from Renfrew right after the tornado hit. 0:30

With files from Amanda Pfeffer