A 56-year-old Port Colborne woman was killed Friday morning when a large tree fell on the car she was driving.
Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services responded to the call in Port Colborne, where the woman was killed on Fielden Ave. between Kent and Alexandra Sts., shortly after 11 a.m.
A downed hydro pole and tree rested on the vehicle along with high-tension wires.
A crowd gathered on Alexandra St. and watched as emergency personnel worked to remove the branches from the top of the car.
Niagara EMS spokesperson Carrie Beatty confirmed a woman, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s identity is being withheld until the women’s family has been notified.
Sergeant Todd Stevenson said high winds in Niagara were “a major factor” in the incident.
Environment Canada said Port Colborne recorded the strongest wind gusts in the province Friday morning with gusts of up to 106 km/h in the lakeside city.
Stevenson said staff from Canadian Niagara Power were on scene repairing damage to live wires. As a result of the wind, hydro was out in the area.
“Hydro was notified, obviously the wires were a concern but the situation is now under control,” he said.
About 370 Canadian Niagara Power customers in the Fielden Ave. area were without power for hours following the incident, said CNP spokesperson Kristine Carmichael. Power was expected to be restored to the area Friday evening.
Const. Derek Watson said the incident remained under investigation by the Niagara Regional Police Traffic Reconstruction Unit Friday afternoon. He said the area where the incident occurred would remained closed for several hours until the investigation had concluded.
The last time a Niagara resident was fatally injured in a windstorm was in 2011, when a 91-year-old St. Catharines man’s vehicle was crushed when a wind-uprooted tree struck his vehicle. John Bak was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries.
Watson said Friday’s accident which was caused by the high winds couldn’t have been avoided.
“In my career, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this,” he said.
“There was nothing she could have done to avoid this tragedy.”
—With files from Maryanne Firth