A wild storm caused extensive damage to the Clarence Hotel in Maclean.
A wild storm caused extensive damage to the Clarence Hotel in Maclean. Adam Hourigan

Police warnings not heeded in storm aftermath

EMERGENCY services were kept busy dealing with the supercell storm that decimated Maclean yesterday morning, and while there were no serious injuries or deaths police were disappointed not everyone listened to their warnings to stay away from fallen powerlines.

With the town's CBD sustaining heavy damage, Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command duty officer Acting Inspector Darren Williams said the main areas of damage were the Clarence Hotel and Maclean Showground, where significant structural damage was inflicted.

"We had to block off River St and had the road closed from Argyle St to Howard St, and it will be closed for some time," he said.

Acting Insp Williams said while police had their hands full keeping people safe, it was disappointing some people ignored police instructions.

"Our main concern was keeping people away from powerlines, as there were a number of powerlines down and roofing iron caught in powerlines," he said.

"Basically our concern from the Essential Energy staff was to try and get people to stay away, and we were constantly removing people from areas of damage.

"Some people were not heeding the warnings we were giving them. We're not the fun police, we weren't stopping people from having a look but we were there for a reason to protect people.

"Most people were pretty good, but we had the odd person trying to sneak back around us and get closer. We don't act lightly, there's a reason we ask people to do things and it's usually for their own protection as well as ours. If someone does get injured, emergency service responders have then got to go and rescue them."