Fort Benton man recounts scary moments during wind-storm

Scott Ort
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 19:54:41-05

FORT BENTON — Like many other areas across Montana, the town of Fort Benton took a beating from hurricane-force winds on Wednesday, with trees toppled and roofs damaged.

One person who feels very lucky is Scott Ort, who narrowly escaped serious injury when part of a blown-off roof nearly hit him. "I looked to the side of me and this roof here was coming off this building,” he said.

He was at the city's old train depot and trying to pick up a tree that had blown out of his truck.

"I grabbed the tree to throw it back in when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the roof coming at me. So I hurried up and ran this way and got behind the tire right before the (roof) hit the pickup and slid the pickup over,” Ort recalled.

As for his reaction when he saw the roof coming? "There wasn't much. It was pretty fast,” Out said.

He considers himself lucky to be alive, and so do family and friends he says. "They kind of couldn't believe it,” said Ort.

Ironically, the roof would've come off eventually, as the train depot is being torn down. "It's kind of, like, in slow motion now,” said Ort, laughing.

Highway 87 was closed for several hours between Great Falls and Fort Benton. The powerful winds kicked up dust and dirt, causing very poor visibility along the road. There were gusts of more than 70 miles per hour across the region.