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Wind 'catapults' cement blocks off downtown Calgary balcony, damaging cars below

Last Updated Jun 16, 2021 at 11:59 am PDT

Calgary fire crews say they were called to a building in the Beltline after cement paving stones were blown off someone's 27th-floor balcony. June 16, 2021. (PHOTO: Nick Blakeney, CityNews Calgary)

CALGARY – Emergency crews in Calgary say a powerful wind gust launched cement paving stones off a 27th-floor balcony in the Beltline, sending them onto the street below.

Calgary firefighters were called to 13 Avenue SW near 1 Street around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday for reports rocks had landed on several cars and the areas surrounding them.

Some of the chunks were as large as four-litre jugs of milk, according to calls to 911.

Police were called in to investigate and found that someone living on a nearby apartment building’s 27th floor had placed paving stones on top of his outdoor hot tub to keep the cover from blowing off.

The wind was strong enough to blow off the cover, “catapulting the paving stones onto the street below.”

“Up high, [wind] is even faster and stronger–which is what caused this situation,” said fire spokesperson Carol Henke.

“Because our weather here is so unpredictable, you always need to make sure that you have nothing on your balcony, your patio, or in your yard that can fly away and become a projectile and injure others or cause damage. Especially up at the higher levels, if you’re in a high-rise.”

She says in this situation, someone tried their best to “problem-solve” but ended up creating a dangerous situation.

“I think some people don’t necessarily think about how strong a wind gust can be… The potential for this being deadly was there. If anyone had been down on the street below–I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened,” Henke said.

She added it was very fortunate that there were no reported injuries after the stones were launched.

Henke says CPS is working with building management, but no charges or warnings have been issued at this point.

-with files from Chris Bowen