The Aftermath

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

"There was a total of twelve houses completely destroyed," explains Eaton County Sheriff Michael Raines. "Seven homes were heavily damaged, and ten with minor damage."

This stretch of Vermontville Highway in Benton Township stands eerily quiet -- less than 24 hours after an EF-3 tornado caused massive destruction.

"We don't want anyone going into homes or going into property and getting injured," he says. "We do not need any more injuries from this disaster."

So far, several homes on Vermontville Highway, Otto, Benton & McConnell Roads have been evaluated. All but eleven are now considered structurally sound. One of those eleven is this house, owned by Lindsey VanderLaan and her husband.

"It definitely brought tears to my eyes because that's our house."

The tornado is the strongest the area has seen since 1991. Its 140 mile per hour winds tore the roof off VanderLaan's home, and it caused several of her barns to collapse.

"Our personal belongings are in there, and it's deemed dangerous," she says. "So we can't go into the house to get anything, and that makes me nervous too, wedding pictures, important papers."

The Eaton County Sheriff's Department will have its Mounted Division on site Saturday evening to make sure there is no looting. But that's hardly any consolation for those who've lost just about everything.

"My wife said yesterday, she's a stay at home mom," explains Eric Whiting. "She says, not only am I unemployed, I'm homeless, I have no vehicles to drive. I have no transportation, no home, and no job."

The one thing the tornado did spare them, however, is their lives.

Real Life Church in Charlotte is taking donations for displaced families. They are asking for clothes and non-perishable food items. For more information call (517) 541-LIFE.


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