Storms, tornado leave trail of damage in Kent Co.


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Storms and a confirmed tornado left damaged buildings and downed trees and power lines in its wake, injuring nearly 10 people as they swept through the southern Grand Rapids metro area Sunday night.

Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down in one Kentwood neighborhood in the area of US-131 and 60th Street SE northeast toward Kalamazoo Avenue and 52nd Street SE. According to Storm Team 8, radar estimated wind gusts as strong as 90 mph.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Photos of the storm and damage

During a Monday afternoon press conference, officials said seven people sustained minor injuries in the City of Wyoming. A Monday release from the City of Kentwood said two people were rescued after roof collapses or building damage and sent to local hospitals.

A command center was set up Sunday night at the Home Depot on 54th Street in Wyoming to direct crews to the most serious damage.

Storm damage near 54th Street and Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (July 7, 2014)
(Storm damage near 54th Street and Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. July 7, 2014)

Several people were trapped at the Leisure Acres condominium complex on Blue Ash Drive near 52nd Street and Eastern Avenue in Kentwood, fire officials said, before being freed. None of them were seriously hurt.

“It came so fast. We said, ‘Maybe we should go to the basement.’ But we never had a chance to go in the basement,” Blue Ash resident Betty Dejong said.

At Leisure Acres, according to the City of Kentwood, two four-stall garages were destroyed and three roofs partially torn away. There was also partial roof damage to commercial buildings at 5524 and 5526 Division Ave.

Part of the roof of a strip mall on 44th Street west of Kalamazoo Avenue was torn away.

Storm damage at Ideal Park in Wyoming. (Courtesy ReportIt - July 7, 2014)
(Storm damage at Ideal Park in Wyoming. Courtesy ReportIt.)

In Wyoming, Ideal Park will be closed until further notice due to storm damage. The Parks and Recreation Department will contact those who had reserved space to reschedule, according to a release from the city.

24 Hour News 8 received reports of power lines and trees down, some into houses and some blocking roadways. Several roads in Kentwood and Wyoming were closed because they were impassable.

Officials asked residents to avoid damaged areas, which have hazards and are already busy with cleanup efforts. In Wyoming, there will be extra police patrols through Wednesday. People will be asked for identification to show they live in affected areas to be let through.

Insurance representatives and building inspectors were starting to assess the damage and any safety concerns Monday.

Tree debris at the dropoff center in Kentwood. (July 7, 2014)
(The debris dropoff area at Kelloggswood Park in Kentwood. July 7, 2014)

The City of Kentwood has set up a tree and yard debris dropoff center at Kelloggswood Park. Residents should enter the park via 52nd Street and Kelloggswood Drive and must show proof of Kentwood residency to drop off their debris. Building debris will not be accepted. The site will be open until 10 p.m.

In Wyoming, debris can also be dropped off at the yard waste area at the Wyoming Public Service Center located at 2660 Burlingame Ave. SW between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday.

Also, for the next two weeks, crews will be picking up brush curbside only in neighborhoods bordered by Clay Avenue, 56th Street and Division Avenue.

The Consumers Energy outage map showed about 2,200 customers in Kent County were without power as of 7:30 p.m. Monday. Consumers said it is working to have all power restored by Tuesday.

A Monday afternoon release said Consumers would cut power to parts of Kentwood between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday to repair storm damage.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Outage map

Officials also warned residents to watch out for, stay at least 25 feet away from and report downed power lines to Consumers Energy at 1.800.477.5050 or by calling 911.

About 54 people spent the night at a Red Cross shelter at the Kentwood Activity Center located at 355 48th St. SE, according to the Monday release. A temporary aid station was set up by the Salvation Army at the Ideal Park Christian Reformed Church, located at 320 56th St. SW.

Officials asked residents to check on their neighbors and confirm everyone is OK.

Residents should be wary of strangers going door-to-door asking for information, Wyoming officials say, and should check ID before answering questions or writing a check to someone claiming to be a contractor. Officials say anyone from the city will be clearly identifiable.

In the City of Wyoming, non-emergency calls can be directed to the Wyoming Department of Public Safety at 616.530.7300. City services will be handled through Wyoming City Hall at 616.530.7272.

Both the Kentwood and Wyoming mayors thanked emergency crews for their quick response and hard work during the storm and in its aftermath.

A flood warning remains in effect for Montcalm County and Ionia County until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Warnings and watches

blog comments powered by Disqus