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Oxford County Remembers the 1979 Tornado

It was 40 years ago today that a massive F4 tornado swept through the Friendly City and other pockets of Oxford County, killing two people and injuring 142 others.

Video was done by former journalist Carla Garrett and was posted to Youtube in 2014. 

OXFORD COUNTY - Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock Tornado.   

At least three twisters touched down in Oxford County on a dark evening of August 7th, 1979 . 

The southern end of Woodstock suffered some of the most intense destruction along with several other nearby towns in Oxford County also getting hit. 

Hundreds of homes and business were significantly damaged from the kilometre wide tornado, leaving over a thousand people homeless and an additional 350 homes uninhabitable.

Local resident Sylvia Kiers' family home in Oxford Centre was damaged in the Tornado, forcing the family to find temporary housing.  
"We lived in a small trailer while they fixed the inside of our house.  There were broken windows, and flooding, etc.  All of our neighbours banded together to support each other.  We were so thankful for everyone involved to assist in the rebuild. I still have a quilt that was donated by the church ladies from different churches." 

The newly elected Woodstock Mayor at the time, Wendy Calder declared Woodstock a disaster area, and turned to the province for financial assistance.  In 1979 the damages were estimated at $100 million dollars, in 2011 the damages were adjusted to $305 million dollars.  

Kiers says the psychological damage outlasted the physical.  

"Even months after, if a storm was coming, my mom would be downstairs in the basement on the couch with her purse, it left an imprint on so many with memories of a devastating storm, but also of communities who banded together to help those in need."

As a result of the F4 Tornado, two people died, 142 were injured.

You can also see a video done by the CBC online here. 

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