He helped build it when he was just two years out of high school, and it stood for nearly 50 years, but on Sunday night the windstorm that blew through Niagara brought down Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin’s grain silo, leaving a pile of concrete rubble, and sending its domed steel roof on a quarter-mile flight into a neighbour’s field.
On the plus side, the silo hadn’t been used since 2012, when Junkin, a former dairy farmer, sold the herd he’d tended for decades in North Pelham.
It was after dark on Sunday evening when visitors leaving Junkin’s farm noticed that a hay wagon was damaged, but it wasn’t until later, when Junkin’s son Isaac came home, that the true extent of the damage became clear. Illuminating the scene with car headlights, the wind still gusting, the pair saw that the previous 16 ft. diameter, 60 ft. high structure was in ruins.
Known as a slab silo, it had been constructed with concrete slabs roughly a third the size of sidewalk slabs—8” wide by 24” long, weighing 80 pounds apiece. These in turn were held in place by steel rings. At the top sat a domed steel roof.
It was this roof that took off flying, like a parachute, said Junkin, who initially couldn’t find where it landed on Monday morning.
“I thought maybe it went in the pond. It just missed a new, 30 ft. building.”
Junkin said the roof weighed a good 450 or 500 pounds.
“It’s lucky it didn’t land in the road, or on the house.”
Looking farther out, Junkin eventually spotted the roof, in pieces, in a neighbour’s field about a quarter mile away. The neighbour also lost a structure, he said, a 40 ft. by 70 ft fabric outbuilding.
“That wind was just blowing like a sonofabitch.”
Also damaged was a granary located next to the silo, though it, too, had been out of use since 2012.
“If it wasn’t for the wagon, I wouldn’t have really cared that much,” said Junkin. “I’m going to have to get out there and do some welding, I guess.”