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Resident says Estevan storm was like being in an earthquake

The storm blew the roof of a building in central Estevan, scattering debris on the road.
Debris is on the road at the intersection of Fifth Street and 12th Avenue.

ESTEVAN - Mel Myers has experienced a lot of storms in his life, but never anything like the one that brought powerful winds and plenty of hail to Estevan on Sunday night. 

The storm caused the roof to blow off of a commercial-residential building at the intersection of Fifth Street and 12th Avenue. Myers, who rents one of the four units in the building, described the storm as a "scary" and "surreal" situation.

"It just came out of nowhere. It was all calm. I was looking out my windows watching the lighting, and there was no … wind. In the snap … of your fingers, it was like a freight train was coming through the roof. Not around the walls, but through the roof."

Then his ceiling lifted, there was a horrendous noise and crash, and he knew something happened because the building was moving like it was in an earthquake.

"I thought the whole building was going down," he said.

While the storm was ongoing, he and the other tenants went outside to evaluate the damage. On Monday, they were checking the building for leaks.

"As the one roof blew off, as it went flying over the other part of the building, it damaged the other roof, and then everybody's apartment was leaking," Myers said.

His apartment is now open to the elements, so it was further hit by the hail and heavy rain.

Myers has lived in the building for over a year and a half. He said it's a good building that has withstood strong winds, and owner Terry Germain is a good landlord. Now the residents are trying to figure out where they're going to stay.

"I've been through a lot of storms in my life, and I've never, ever, ever, in my life, encountered anything like what happened last night [Sunday], just how it happened and how fast it happened," said Myers.

Soul Hideout, located on the ground floor of the damaged building, was open on Monday. Owner Kelsey Rydberg said they didn't have any damage within the business.

"The city crew did an amazing job of cleaning up everything, and we're so thankful that they were hard at work this morning, making sure all of the debris and everything was cleaned up so it's safe to have customers … in the shop," said Rydberg.

"So, we're really thankful to them being hard at work today, and we're also thankful to the police officers last night that were making sure everyone was staying safe and away from the downed power lines."

Terry Germain, who owns the building, wrote on his Facebook page that pillars were busted, the chimney was gone and the roof was basically ripped right off. Fortunately, the tenants were fine. 

Germain asked people not to drive in the area, as there was lots of debris, nails, screws, bricks and wood.

The intersection was closed for much of the day so cleanup of the debris could occur. 

Varsteel Ltd.'s Estevan location in the east end of Estevan was also damaged. Darren Moldenhauer, who is an inside sales representative for the company, said the roof for their larger shop is completely gone. Ten rafters remain with a bit of tin, and half of a wall is gone. The shop is open to the elements in the event of further rain.

Moldenhauer doesn't believe anything can be done as a temporary solution.

"Three quarters of the rafters are gone. If the rafters are still there, we could probably tarp [it], but I don't think it's possible if the rafters aren't there."

An outside wall of their smaller shop looks like it might be "sucked out" on the north side.

Moldenhauer said he didn't know about the damage until he arrived at the facility Monday morning.

Varsteel is still open and providing the same services, he said.