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'All chaos broke loose.' After Livonia tornado, families and neighbors band together for clean-up effort

Livonia cleanup
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 06, 2024

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — In what seemed like seconds, neighbors near Mason and Houghton streets in Livonia watched tragedy unfold.

The National Weather Service confirms an EF1 tornado landed in the area just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, bringing down power lines and countless trees.

VIDEO: WXYZ meteorologist Mike Taylor explains non-supercell tornadoes:

WXYZ meteorologist Mike Taylor explains that Livonia tornado was a 'non-supercell tornado'

"It went from raining a little bit to everything down with the quickness," said Kevin Farrar. "All the trees on the curb were gone. I remember, because it was trash day, there was just trash floating down the street because it was just starting to flood everywhere. It’s still kind of flooded in the street."

Farrar says his children were at school when the storm dropped down. He the fallen trees made it impossible to leave the block to get them by car.

"We’ve had some storms that knocked out a few trees but nothing as severe as this one," said Art Frizell who lives nearby. "There was absolutely no warning. Sirens didn’t go off. I think it just surprised everybody like it was a heavy downpour because our streets were flooded. Then it stopped raining and all chaos broke loose."

VIDEO: Drive through a Livonia neighborhood after a tornado hit the area on Wednesday:

Driving through Livonia neighborhood after Wednesday's tornado

Neighbors say within minutes of the storm, hoards of people from the area began helping each other clear the roads and trees that had fallen.

"We knew that thunderstorms were coming but this intensity seemed to come out of nowhere. We had no warning," said Lynn Swift. "Castle Gardens is a great place to live and we knew that but seeing everybody come out yesterday to help everyone, it was so heartwarming."

One of the fallen trees took the life of a 3-year-old boy and severely injured his mother. The two were at their home on Houghton Street when the storm blew through.

VIDEO: Tornado kills toddler in Livonia, critically injures mother:

Tornado kills toddler in Livonia, mother in critical condition after tree crushes home

A family friend spoke with 7 News Detroit off camera Thursday saying the mother was scheduled for surgery. They also gave 7 News permission to share two different GoFundMe fundraisers which have already raised nearly $200,000 combined.

"That’s always the tragedy because life, you can’t take back, property damage, you can replace and it’s just sad when you hear of something like that happening to somebody else," said Frizell as he reflected on the loss.

As the clean up effort continues, DTE is also working to restore power to homes in the area. The utility company says they hope to have 95% of the Livonia neighborhood back online by Thursday night.