“At first it sounded like there were people jumping on the roof, which didn’t make any sense,” Kelly Nicole Robson told the Times less than two hours after high winds blew away the roof of the Udder Store in Greenwood where she was working on Monday afternoon.
“The wind was picking up and suddenly it sounded like a loud crash, like a vehicle had hit the roof or something,” recalled Robson, who is the daughter of storeowners Hardy and Rocky Skott, who were away when the roof blew off. “It didn’t make any sense. I was worried about the woman in the parking lot.”
The gusts of wind lifted the sheet metal roof as well as some of the trusses, twisted and crumpled it and would have tossed it all in Deadwood Street but a neutral line on the FortisBC service poles held it some six metres off from the ground.
“She came in and said I should call 911. ‘Why?’ I asked, because I was worried that someone was hurt. She said, ‘Because your roof is hanging off of a power line. Not just a little bit but a huge chunk of your roof.”
Robson said she was alone in the building when the wind took the roof off just after 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon (March 2).The power was knocked out, but there was no fire and no injuries were reported.
The neighbouring building to the south also had its metal roofing lifted by the wind, but the trusses on this building held fast. The building’s resident Jill Laughren said she hadn’t even noticed her roof was off. “I heard what sounded like bending and crushing metal. I said to my son, there is something going on and I kept looking out at my car.”
In fact she noticed the Udder Store roof was missing before her own.
The fire department and city foreman responded to the call for help. They erected barricades closing off Deadwood Street. FortisBC sent out a crew of two. They had to cut the neutral line so the roof could fall the rest of the way to the ground. Then the neutral was spliced back together and a local contractor went to work clearing the debris away to make the scene safe.
Power was restored that evening and the store was open at 8 a.m. the next morning. So in addition to the roof, the store also lost four hours of trade.