Demolition wrapping up at Dietz family farm

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WILX) - “You see, you see your whole life, spread across your lawn and the field across the street, and the amount of damage everything suffered... you know, we lost all but one car,” said Stephanie Dietz, a 5th Generation Farmer.

It’s been nearly one month since a tornado devastated parts of rural Williamston and Webberville. For a family farm, that’s almost 200 years old, recovery has just begun.

Today, family members watched as their historic home was reduced to rubble.

What once held dried wedding bouquets and heirloom cribs, came down in a cloud of debris Tuesday morning. First purchased by the Dietz family in the early 1800′s, the tornado’s destruction was heartbreaking.

“There was no chance to make it to the basement. Glass started breaking, and we were being pelted with water, debris, glass, and so we all just kind of fell to the ground in the hallway, right there in the opening,” said Stephanie Dietz, 5th Generation Farmer.

Since the night of the tornado, hundreds of community members have come to the Dietz family farm to assist in the cleanup and offer support.

Growing up in the same home, Ron Dietz says it’s hard to grasp. Seeing his son and grandson work to keep the tradition alive, shortly after a near-death experience.

“The day after that storm, this place was covered with their friends. So... yeah. Proud. Proud of em,” said Ron Dietz as he choked up.

First built in the 1850′s, their home is the last thing to go, with three barns that have already been flattened.

The storm twisted the home’s foundation, and brought back memories of how it was all built, much of which by hand. Tim Dietz still remembers the stories, such as teams of horses installing a furnace.

They have temporary housing on the property now, and say it’ll be at least a year before they can re-build one barn and a home.

“Yeah you feel bad about this but, I’m telling you, when I find out where everybody was just five minutes before the house basically blew up, I (went), ‘Thank you lord. You protected my family. You protected lives.’”

With injured pets recovered, and demolition nearly complete, the family has begun meeting with builders. While some things can’t be re-built, they say memories last a lifetime, and their farm will last for generations to come.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.