Wind storm sends building debris flying

High winds in Red Deer on Tuesday blew metal guard rails off the 12-storey building under construction downtown, and knocked out power for 500 customers elsewhere in the city.

Workers at Executive place wrestle with a safety barricade that blew off the top of the building Tuesday during high winds at the site. A safety line kept this piece from hitting the ground while other pieces of equipment fell to the road below.

High winds in Red Deer on Tuesday blew metal guard rails off the 12-storey building under construction downtown, and knocked out power for 500 customers elsewhere in the city.

Wind gusts of up to 89 km/h were reported at Red Deer Regional Airport and gusts of up to 84 km/h were reported in Sundre, according to Environment Canada. Environment Canada issued a wind warning for Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail and Stettler on Tuesday afternoon.

After two to three red metal guard rails, approximately three to four metres in length, were blown off the Executive Place building in downtown Red Deer late Tuesday afternoon, Red Deer City RCMP blocked off Ross Street at the corners of 48 Ave. and 49 Ave.

Matt Williams, of Red Deer, was driving along 49 Ave., close to the Fields building when he saw at least three pieces of fencing fly off the building.

“I was just like wow, you don’t see that every day,” he said. The first thing he thought of was the little girl who was killed in Calgary after falling debris from a building hit her.

Three-year-old Michelle Krsek was killed on Aug. 1 when she was hit by a chunk of corrugated metal, more than three metres long, that fell off a building in Calgary. The builder, developers and subcontractor of the high-rise in Calgary were all recently charged with one count of allowing an unsafe condition.

Red Deer City RCMP Cpl. Dwayne Helgeson said police were called to Executive Place after the guard rails placed for the workers’ safety blew to the ground. He said at least two to three fell to the ground at the corner of 49 Avenue and Ross Street.

“Nobody was injured and we’re very lucky in that sense,” Helgeson said. As far as he knows no vehicles were hit by the falling guard rails.

He said the building crew was working to secure everything else on the building to ensure nothing else came down. No one from Clark Builders, the company constructing the building, was immediately available to comment on the incident.

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