The fury of Mother Nature’s winds

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Winds gusting up to sixty one miles per hour in parts of Western New York brought down trees and power lines Thursday.

Thousands of people were without power in the morning hours. Some homeowners suffered heavy property damage.

Eric Zbigniewicz, who lives in Buffalo Clinton-Bailey neighborhood, said he heard the winds “howling real loud.”

His wife had just left for work at around 7 a.m. “All of a sudden I heard a big bang and I jumped up out of bed, came outside, seen my truck totally crushed, damage to my house, and it totally devastated me in a matter of minutes.”

He said he only has liability insurance on his car, so damages are not likely to be covered. His pickup truck is the only way he can get to work. It has been totally demolished.

“I’m just going to try and pick up the pieces and get my life back together,” he said.

At Buffalo’s Canalside, an interactive “Canal-O-Ween” exhibit was destroyed.

“A lot scarier than Halloween, I’ll tell you that,” said Matthew Hencinski, Vice President of Black Morgue Manors, a new company specializing in holiday exhibits and events.

“We didn’t think it would be this bad down here. We figured we’d get some wind damage, but not the entire business collapse on the ground like this.”

The family friendly exhibit, which opened at the beginning of October, featured a photo setting where people could pose with ghoulish figures.

There was also a paintball shooting gallery with Zombies as targets.

The company’s creator, Andrew Kozlowski, had gone down to the waterfront at 2 a.m. to see if there had been any damage. He went home confident, only to receive e-mails and texts at 10 a.m., showing the devastation.

“There was a good foot of water pumped out this morning,” he said.

Kozlowski had poured five to eight thousand dollars into the exhibit.

There was a “Rest in Peace” Halloween grave stone sticking out of the rubble.

Just yards away, the water was rippling through the normally calm historic Commercial Slip of the Erie Canal.

Kozlowski said “I was, like…there wasn’t going to be a big storm, and in-between 2 and 10 a.m. this happened.”

As he and his business partner surveyed the damage, Hencinski said “Everything is just gone instantly overnight. It’s just crazy.”

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