The Big Ones

A timeline of disasters across Oxford County. The following list is not all-inclusive, but includes emergencies involving great loss of life and/or property, historical interest or unusual circumstances. Some images may not depict the actual event.
  • 2013 - December: Ice storm

    About 1500 Hydro One customers in Oxford County were without power for a day or two after ice blanketed south and central Ontario. The Woodstock hospice had to be evacuated due to the power outage and roads inaccessible after downed tree branches.
  • 2011: Explosion

    Explosion: Victoria Street, Woodstock. Two people killed and residents displaced after apartment building was leveled to rubble.
  • 2008 – Jan. 22: Crash

    Highway pileup: Drumbo. About 75 cars involved, closing Highway 401 for hours. Motorists stranded and required transportation to warming shelter.
  • 2003 - August: Blackout

    Blackout: Largest power outage in history affecting 10 million people in Ontario. All activities requiring electricity stopped; traffic lights, gas pumps, and some cellular phones stopped working.
  • 2003 – Feb. 13: Train derailment

    Train derailment: Gobles. About 30 people were evacuated after a freight train derailed. About 30 cars went off the tracks, some carrying dangerous materials such as benzene liquid and petroleum gas.
  • 2000 – July 15: Flood

    Flood: Pittock and Grand River.
  • 2000 – Nov. 23: Crash

    Highway pileup – 31 vehicles involved in crash on Highway 401 near Woodstock. 25 km stretch of highway closed for 6.5 hours, 5 sent to hospital.
  • 1998 - June 2: Tornado

    Tornado: Norwich. Two supercells produced an F1/F2 twister, damaging trees, farm equipment and some buildings including the Trinity Anglican Church. Three people were hurt. First hit Holbrook.
  • 1995 – July 15: Windstorm

    Lightning/windstorm: Woodstock. An estimated 95 per cent of the city was without power.
    Photo courtesy: Oxford County Historical Society
  • 1988 – July 30: Tornado

    Tornado: Norwich. A funnel cloud touched down around 3:45 p.m. Trees were snapped and uprooted, a garage was blown off its foundation. Rated an F0.
  • 1984 – Dec. 8: Food safety

    Food safety – Salmonella poisoning at Oxford Regional Centre. 231 residents and 8 staff poisoned. Two people died.
    Photo courtesy: Oxford County Archives
  • 1984 – Feb. 14: Train derailment

    Train derailment: A 24-car CN train derailed four miles west of Woodstock, causing $1 million damage. Half-mile of track was torn up. Train was carrying propane. Heavy rain blamed for weakening track.
  • 1982 – Aug. 10: Train crash

    Train crash: CN freight train was hit head on by a VIA train carrying 110 passengers on Pemberton Street crossing. Seventy people were injured. Dozens of other passengers were taken to Arena until buses arrived.
  • 1979 – Aug. 7: Tornado

    Tornadoes: Scores of farms and homes were devastation in Oxford County in the F4 tornado. Two people died, 142 were injured and monetary losses of $100 million in 1979 dollars.
    Photo courtesy: Oxford County Archives
  • 1978 – Jan. 26: Blizzard

    Blizzard: 32 cm of snow in 36 hours. Heavy snow and high winds (>115 km/hr), extensive damage done; 400 injuries across Southwestern Ontario.
    Photo courtesy: Oxford County Archives
  • 1974 – May 30: Train derailment

    Train derailment: 56 people injured when a CN passenger train and a 22-car CN freight train collided at Ingersoll station. Near $1 million in damages.
    Photo courtesy: The London Free Press Collection of Photographic Negatives, Western Archives, Western University, London, Canada
  • 1971: Blizzard

    Blizzard: Two feet of snow and drifts as high as 12 feet. Storm lasted six days and stranded Premier Robarts at Ingersoll Service Centre. London declared a state of emergency.
  • 1954: Water contamination

    Water contamination: Dozens of animals were poisoned after drinking water contaminated by sewage overrun from Woodstock treatment plant.
  • 1953 – May 21: Tornado

    Three tornadoes came together and destroyed portions of Middlesex, Perth and Oxford Counties. The village of Kintore suffered much devastation with five farms levelled and many animals killed.
  • 1950: Train crash

    Train crash: Ralston-Purina
  • 1937: Flood

    Flood: Woodstock and region was flooded when Thames River overflowed its banks. In Ingersoll a doctor was swept away in his vehicle, attending to a derailed train that killed three people. Four bridges collapsed, 2 dams swept away. Four inches of rain fell in 48 hours.
    Photo courtesy: Oxford County Archives
  • 1935: Fire

    Fire: Fairground and grandstand in Woodstock destroyed by fire.
  • 1933 – June 7: Tornado

    A tornado swept through Oxford and crossed Woodstock at approximately 10:30 a.m. Not a single section of Woodstock remained unscathed
  • 1930 – Sept. 2: Block fire

    Conflagration: Otterville business block destroyed by fire. Grocery store, bakery, print shop and other nearby buildings affected.
  • 1929 – Jan. 28: Fire

    Fire: LA France Plushes Ltd. factory on Dundas Street Woodstock destroyed; power was knocked out in the city after a wall collapsed on powerline. Mutual Aid required.
  • 1914 – June 8: Tornado

    Tornado: Just after 6 p.m. a cyclone crossed the 13th Concession. It travelled southeast for about two kilometres, destroying farms, wood lots and a slaughterhouse in its path. The storm ended within a half an hour, but left two people dead in East Zorra.
  • 1913: Train crash

    Train crash: Ingersoll station
  • 1906 – Nov. 16: Train derailment

    Train derailment: Ingersoll Road in Woodstock
    Photo courtesy: Woodstock Museum NHS
  • 1901: Train crash

    Train crash: Ingersoll at GTR station. Two trains struck head-on.
  • 1894 - May: Flood

    Flood: Harris Creek, Ingersoll flooded and three dams gave way. One foot of water flowed over King St. washing away a brick foundation.
    Photo courtesy: Ingersoll Library
  • 1893: Explosion

    Explosion: Opera House in Woodstock destroyed.
  • 1874: Block fire

    Conflagration: King Street in Ingersoll destroyed by fire.
  • 1872: Block fire

    Block Fire: Thames Street in Ingersoll destroyed by fire.
  • 1856 – June 29: Tornado

    About 3 p.m., two currents met at the ninth concession of Zorra Township and a spiral column appeared. Three deaths and countless injuries were reported as the storm travelled easterly and ended up destroying the village of Eastwood.