A firefighter and junior firefighter are thanking the powers that be after a close call during Hurricane Dorian.
Longtime firefighter Ryan Richard, who is a deputy fire chief in Brooklyn as well as a veteran driver for the Windsor Fire Department, and his daughter, Carly, who is in the WFD cadet program, spent much of Sept. 7 and 8 responding to calls. Between the two stations, in a 24-hour period, there were more than 20 calls for help.
And the pair say they are thankful for one call, in particular.
“I call it the God call,” said Carly Richard.
Around 6 p.m. Sept. 7, they were at home, getting ready to head to the Windsor Fire Department for dinner. Then at 6:24 p.m., a call came in about power lines arcing.
They left their Tremain Crescent house within minutes.
Whether it was divine intervention or impeccable timing, it turned out to be a life-saver.
As they arrived at the station, the large linden tree in their front yard was uprooted and toppled sideways.
“If we hadn’t have left, or we were in the car, we definitely would have been seriously injured, if not killed,” said Richard, standing at the end of the driveway, looking at the leafy tree sprawled across his Windsor property.
“If we had’ve been in the car, it definitely would have crushed the car,” he said.
“It was a close call.”
The tree, which isn’t native to Nova Scotia but grows well here, is massive. Richard estimates it stood about 90 to 100 feet (27 to 30 metres) tall and its base was about three feet (about a metre) in circumference.
“It ripped some of the shingles off and it broke the corner of the house off; pulled some tar paper off, destroyed the gutter. Some other shrubbery in there got destroyed as well. One of my favourite trees is gone,” Richard said as he described the devastation.
Richard said he’s going to get in touch with his insurance provider before he endeavours to remove the behemoth from his property.
It wasn’t the only tree that fell at his Windsor property. One other large tree, in the backyard, also toppled before Hurricane Dorian even made landfall. Richard said he’s thankful it didn’t cause damage to the neighbour’s property.
As of 5 p.m., Sept. 8, the Richards were still without power — though neither tree took down the power lines. They weren’t the only ones left in the dark.
Power outages spiked as Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Nova Scotia as a Category 2 storm Sept. 7.
Nova Scotia Power said at the height of the storm, more than 400,000 customers were without electricity. As of 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8, that number had dropped to 265,000.
Many residents in Hants County found themselves relying on candles and generators Sept. 7 from suppertime onwards, with most having power restored the next morning.
Once day broke and the wind began to die down, residents began driving around the community, examining the damage. Several people stopped to view the Richard residence.
“There’s been lots of pictures taken, lots of people stop in and offer help,” said Richard.
“The community support’s been great.”
A meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre told SaltWire Network journalists that wind gusts in the range of 120-150 km/h were observed and the highest rainfall amounts ranged from 100 to 200 millimetres.