Shortly after 10 o’clock last Wednesday morning, Al Hiebert was in Hanley running some errands.
The trip may have saved his life, or at least saved him from serious injury because otherwise, he’d have been building partitions inside his new Hot Shop currently under construction.
Instead, he returned to the shop at the edge of Shields around 11 a.m. to find the 50 x 150-foot building flattened by the near Hurricane-force winds that wreaked havoc over much of central Saskatchewan.
Hiebert said the wind most likely “lifted the roof up like an umbrella. The roof came up and the walls fell down.” Then the wind set the roof back down exactly where it should be, except the walls were no longer there to support it.
Hiebert said that none of the windows, all 18 of them, were broken. Most of the metal siding came through without a scratch, power tools remained where he left them, unharmed and the insulation remained secure in the walls.
The shop, which was being built by a contractor, was nearly finished. Hiebert said all that was left to do was to close in the ceiling.
“We were just starting the electrical,” he said. Once that and utilities were connected, he planned to bring in a furnace and other specialized glass-blowing tools so that he and wife Joan could get back to creating their art.
The Hieberts have been making original and beautiful objects out of blown glass from their Shields location for years.
But they’ve been unable to do so since October after a fire destroyed the Hot Shop.
The structure destroyed by wind was to replace the building they’d lost in the fire.
They’ve had a run of bad luck, but Hiebert said this latest setback won’t deter him and Joan from rebuilding the Hot Shop.
“It’s just stuff. Nobody was in it (when it blew over)…It’s just kind of a kick in the butt,” he said. “There will be another building here in a couple months.”