Remembering the Woodstock tornado 40 years later
Published Wednesday, August 7, 2019 4:30PM EDT
Forty years ago, a violent tornado swept through Woodstock and Oxford County, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Residents there say that fateful day in 1979 is not one that's easy to forget.
Brian Davis was home on Aug. 7 when the tornado came through.
"Seeing it is pretty scary because you're overwhelmed with the power that they have," he explains. He lost a 30-foot birch tree that was "uprooted like a toothpick."
He says he was lucky compared to some.
Two people lost their lives on that day, while 150 others were injured.
According to the Canadian Press, about 300 buildings were damaged or destroyed, prompting the provincial government to declare Woodstock a disaster area. Damage was estimated at between $7 million and $10 million.
Despite all the devastation that the storm caused, the community came together.
"My uncle's house had a lot of trees around it and (people) stopped and said if there's any help, and within seconds they had cut down all the trees that were badly damaged," remembers Eleanor Gardhouse.
Since, the City of Woodstock has implemented an emergency preparedness plan, but there hasn't been a tornado since.
Both Davis and Gardhouse hope it stays that way.
In the event of a tornado, the fire chief recommends you get inside, stay away from windows and doors and to get to the lowest point of the building you're in.