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Wild storm wreaks havoc in Maclean

Lynne Mowbray It only took 10 minutes for the wild storm which hit Maclean at 1.35pm on Tuesday January 2, to wreak havoc. The town was left looking like a disaster zone with uprooted trees, power lines down, roofs ripped off and power poles left standing at odd angles, with one being snapped off at the ground. One house in Clarence Street had a tree come down through the roof. Extensive roof damage was also caused to both the Maclean Showground pavilion and Maclean’s Clarence Hotel (bottom pub). Apart from the destruction at the showground, the Clarence Hotel appeared to come off worst. A large section of its iron roof with attached solar panels was ripped off. The roof ended up wrapped around a power pole in River Street, partially resting on a dual cab vehicle parked on the street below. Other damage was caused at the Maclean Hotel (top pub) with roofing over the extensive back deck, collapsing. The heritage listed former Conroy and Stewart solicitors building in River Street, saw two old brick chimneys (at the rear of the building) collapse, with bricks and rubble causing damage to three cars parked below. Power was cut to most of Maclean and Woodford Island for several hours, with Essential Energy working tirelessly to reinstate it. Power to some areas was cut until later the next day. Clean up operations were under way early the following morning with the sound of chainsaws echoing around the town. The town resembled a giant working bee; Essential Energy and council workers were hard at it and the Rural Fire Service [RFS] volunteers continued to assist the SES with clean up operations. River Street in Maclean’s CBD was closed to traffic throughout the day, on Wednesday. Most of the businesses in Maclean’s CBD reported varying degrees of water damage, with at least three businesses reporting a partial roof collapse caused by water. Tradesmen were kept busy dealing with properties affected by water damage. There were several reports of neighbours assisting neighbours and businesses helping each other out. There were also stories of strangers offering their assistance. A huge thank you to Essential Energy and to all our emergency services workers, council and volunteers for all your hard work and the prompt clean up of our town. It was also a wonderful thing to see the community spirit, well and truly alive in Maclean. Maclean copped a beating during those 10 minutes, but its times like these that brings out the best in people.