500 claims later, damage cleanup pros get ready for next storm

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500 claims later, damage cleanup pros get ready for next storm

Workers at a professional St. John's restoration company are waiting to see whether Thursday's coming storm will keep them as busy as they've been all month.

On Side Restoration has been flat out since a storm in mid-March brought hurricane force winds to Newfoundland and Labrador, according to branch manager Lanny Buffit. 

Buffit says his group, which specializes in high-damage repairs from floods, wind-storms and fires, has just about worked through their backlog of jobs and will be ready for Thursday's weather. 

"We're trying to get everything done up now, and be ready for [more work], if we hit," he told CBC on Wednesday.  "So we'll see, I guess. We're going to play it by ear."

Environment Canada is forecasting a storm which is expected to bring upwards of 30 centimetres of snow by Saturday morning over eastern Newfoundland, with the possibility of wind gusts over 100 km/h.

Buffit says the company has had more than 500 jobs come through his office since the March 11 wind storm. Gusts reached 180 km/h that day, tearing down houses-in-progress and shattering car windows.

"We had to pull people from other branches — Vancouver, Ontario, Alberta — and pretty much doubled our workforce," Buffit said.

"We had a couple of roofs that came right off...and then a lot of claims with shingles missing, siding missing. That was the main bulk of them."

The power of Mother Nature

The company is handling some big jobs for clients and their insurance companies, including a fur farm in Dildo and another major commercial building in Bell Island where roofs were whipped off by the winds.

Buffit says there is not a whole lot that homeowners can do when they are facing hurricane-force winds.

"Everybody around here tabs their shingles, which you should be doing here in Newfoundland," he said.

"I don't know what else you could really do, when you get 160 km/h winds, that's hurricane force winds, it's going to do what it is going to do."