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UPDATE: Multiple people injured after thunderstorm rattles through Ottawa

"We're more than likely dealing with a multi-day event here, we'll certainly be restoring power where we can," said Joseph Muglia, the director of system operations and grid automation at Hydro Ottawa.
Fallen trees following the Ottawa storm on Saturday, May 21.

On Saturday, a thunderstorm rattled through the city of Ottawa leaving two people reportedly dead and multiple people injured.

The storm started around 4 p.m. with wind gusts of up to 120 km/h, ultimately causing power outages across the city, downed power lines and roofs blown off of some buildings. 

During a media availability on Saturday, May 21, Kim Ayotte, the General Manager of Emergency and Protective Services, said this storm was unique and affected nearly every part of the city, including suburbs and rural areas. He noted that calls for services were also increasing as the day went on.

"Our 3-1-1 phone has been flooded with calls," he said, adding that residents should only contact 3-1-1 for public service emergencies and that residents calling in should remain patient as they could expect long wait times if they're calling in. 

Ayotte reiterated that residents should stay off the roadways as much as possible so that emergency crews and services can have clear access to roadways.

Ottawa Police Services (OPS) said one barn was destroyed as a result of the storm in the city's west end.

Ottawa Paramedics Chief Pierre Poirier said that two individuals were critically injured at two separate golf courses, where both people were transported to hospital in critical condition. One person, Poirier said, was critically injured as a result of a motor collision.

One person has died in the west end, according to Ottawa police duty inspector Debbie Palmer, however, no other details were provided.

Renfrew Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said a 44-year-old also died on Saturday, after he'd been struck by a fallen tree near Calabogie, Ont.

Ottawa's fire chief, Paul Hutt said that the fire services responded to a number of calls during Saturday's storm. 

"We reached about 500 hundred calls per service and that ranged anywhere from buildings, roof collapsing as a result of the strong storm event," he said. "We had a number of motor vehicle accidents and collisions throughout the city," He added that the fire services also responded to a number of downed hydro wires.

At least 40 vehicles were stuck on Woodroffe Avenue due to fallen power lines, police say. Multiple individuals were trapped in their vehicles because of live wires on roads throughout the city.

Joseph Muglia, the director of system operations and grid automation at Hydro Ottawa, said that he anticipates clean-up efforts could take multiple days. 

"We're more than likely dealing with a multi-day event here, we'll certainly be restoring power where we can," he said, adding with the pole lines down, it could be challenging to restore power quickly.  He added that residents should immediately contact Hydro Ottawa if they come across any downed electrical wires.

As of Saturday, May 21, at least 179,000 people are without power. Hydro crews say power will be restored as soon as possible. 

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