MANGLED ROOF OF THE UNITED CHURCH
With our recent spate of bad weather it was nice to see calm sunny skies this morning. Kelly was home so figured I would take the opportunity to head on up to Goderich and have a look at the tornado damage. Main arteries leading in are still blocked off but most of the back streets are open and accessible. Made my way down to the harbour and main beach area right across from the Sifto Salt Mine. I was on the opposite side of the buildings I had been last Monday morning and could see far more destruction on this side.
The damage was very obvious and I could see the large salt conveyor belt machine that had crumpled to the ground while in the process of filling a large lake freighter. (Monday's photos) The ship is gone now so it was easy to see across the narrow harbour entrance. Not sure but I have a feeling this is where the tornado's one fatality may have occurred and it may have been the salt crane/conveyer operator.
THE LARGE SALT CONVEYER BELT CRANE LIES TOPPLED ON IT’S SIDE
I could see group's of ‘Forensic’ inspectors moving around the damaged areas with clipboards & cameras surveying the scene and probably working on clean up, repair & rebuilding plans. Some workers were atop one of the main elevator shaft buildings working in conjunction with a large crane. I could hear chain saws somewhere on the property as well. Chunks of storm related Styrofoam floated lazily in the channel between the lake and inner harbour. It was a beautiful sunny morning and hard to imagine a man had just lost his life in a terrible storm here just a few days ago.
From the harbour area I drove up the steep hill towards the center of town which I knew was still cordoned off. Made my way around some back streets weaving in and around the many service trucks parked on lawns, in driveways and on the streets. Found a quiet spot on a damaged street and parked the Jeep out of everybody's way. Tree cutters, electrician vans, restoration trailers, large service trucks with overhead cranes repairing power lines were everywhere. A few locals on the sidewalks taking photos but most personnel were workers with hard hats and orange collared traffic type vests. Everybody was busy and no one took notice of a fella walking around taking a bunch of photos.
Police cruisers blocked every street about a block back from the center of town & streets were sealed off with yellow police tape. Nobody was allowed onto what is commonly referred to as, 'the Square.' Goderich is built like a large wagon wheel with the towns Courthouse in the center as the hub. A four lane ring road surrounds the courthouse with streets running off like spokes on a wheel. There is nothing square about the roundness of design but it is called, 'The Square' anyway.
A LONE POLICE CRUISER BLOCKS ONE OF THE MANY STREETS LEADING TO THE SQUARE….COURT HOUSE IN BACKGROUND
One of the first totally destroyed buildings I came to on my walk about had been an optical building that I was familiar with from having dropped Seniors off there over the years when I drove a mobility van. This building was totally smashed to the ground with numerous tarpaulins covering the office machines and optical stock inside. A police cruiser parked only a few yards away had an officer inside keeping a wary eye on the guy with the cameras only a few feet from the crumpled walls & merchandise inside.
THIS OPTICIANS BUILDING IS TOTALLY DESTROYED
Damage was everywhere as I made my way from block to block slowly circumventing the entire downtown core. A tree uprooted here, a crushed pick up truck there. Roofs tumbled into the streets, piles of debris piled along curbs on the roadways. Broken windows everywhere with homes missing roof parts, collapsed porches and sections of walls. I think one of the eeriest sites was a Tim Horton's coffee shop about a block south of the Square......with an empty parking lot!! Now there is something I thought I would never see in my life time. Aside from a large cleaned up tree that had come down in their drive-thru, the building looked fine. It's possible that area of town still does not have power. Two 'Johnny-On-The-Spots' sat in one corner of the parking lot & one was occupied as I took the photo.
One of the most devastated buildings I was able to get close to was the United Church right on Victoria street which is on the west side of number 21 highway running north/south through the city of Goderich. The winds just got inside that Church & blew large chunks of the walls out & roof off. I took a lot of photos here. Reminded me of bomb damage we have all seen in film footage from London England during the second World War. If winds can do that kind of damage to solid brick structures one can easily understand the hazards of living in a mobile home Park.
My long circular walk around the entire outside perimeter of the town's 'Square' took me nearly an hour and a half to get back to the Jeep. I was aware of two distinctive opposites on that walk. All the side streets were abuzz with work crews and the sounds of chain saws and moving vehicles, but as I reached any one of the nearly dozen streets leading to the city's core (The Square) I was immediately aware of the obvious silence at the end of the streets. I could see the large prominent solid looking courthouse at the hub of the Square standing quiet with no activity going on. That area has been cleared and it reminded me of a huge stonely silent war memorial you see towering over a war cemetery.
GODERICH’S STEADFAST AND SOLID COURT HOUSE IN THE ‘SQUARE’ SURVIVED THE TORNADO’S RAVAGES
I took a total of 192 photos this morning so when I have all those photos edited I will put together a Smug Mug photo album of the Goderich tornado damage. Might have that done later tonight or sometime tomorrow. I will link it to the blog. (ended up with 171 usable photos)
McDonald's, in the south end of Goderich is alive & well so I stopped in for an Angus Swiss & Mushroom burger before heading home. I had worked myself up quite an appetite so the burger tasted great. I was home by noon and 20 minutes later was snoozed out in my recliner with a big happy and slurpy mutt on my lap.
Shortly after that I took the furry speedball on her first half hour trail walk since her surgery one week ago today in Zurich. She was sooooo happy to be out again heading in half a dozen different directions all at the same time. She stampeded a herd of birds up into the trees & terrorized another rapidly escaping Butterfly. It is just so nice to see a dog sooooo consistently happy.
Two new Blog Followers to welcome tonight. DEB HILLENIUS joins us as well as Mike LaFoley as numbers 323 & 324 on our Blog Follower’s list. Welcome aboard folks & thanks for taking an interest in the Bayfield Bunch. Much appreciated:))
THE LAST PARAGRAPH: As a rule, most of of us live in a relatively safe & secure environment but I was reminded today amidst the debris of Goderich Ontario just how that security can be destroyed in an instant & our future immediately re-routed.
GROANER'S CORNER:(( Different ways of looking at something.....Two shoe salespeople were sent to Africa to open up new markets. Three days after arriving, one salesperson called the office and said, "I'm returning on the next flight. Can't sell shoes here. Everybody goes barefoot."
At the same time the other salesperson sent an email to the factory, saying "The prospects are unlimited. Nobody wears shoes here!"
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