Severe storms cause extensive damage in Niles

Posted at 9:14 PM, Mar 01, 2017

NILES, Mich. — Lacey Shue was at home watching TV on the couch Tuesday night when she noticed the winds outside started to pick up. She poked her head out the window to see what was going on and heard a loud whistling sound, she said. Seconds later, the house began to shake.

“Just boosh,” said Shue recalling the loud bang she heard that night. “I got like this cloud of smoke and I thought well, you know, something caught on fire. And I went and looked and saw the tree, it was through the porch.”

A tree in her neighbor’s yard on Regent Street uprooted from the ground and fell on top of her home. The trunk of the tree put a large hole in the upstairs bedroom and its branches cracked the windshield and front hood of her truck parked in the back.

“I’m just glad the dogs were OK,” said Shue during an interview in her front yard. “I was OK. I wasn’t in that room. So the roof is completely demolished on this side of the house.”

Connie Jankoviak was grateful too that she and her family survived the storm. She felt the same tremble a few blocks away.

“The whole house shook and I could hear things breaking and being thrown against the house,” said Jankoviak. “It was terrible. And I was so scared that I couldn’t find my grandson, that something terrible was going to happen.”

The lights went out is what happened next. The rain pelted against the house and the air pressure was so tight Jankoviak said she thought her head was going to explode. But she darted around the house anyway looking for her toddler grandson.

“It was terrible trying to find a 2-year-old,” said Jankoviak during an interview outside her home that her father and grandfather built. “He’s crying and you can’t find him.”

But she did. Seconds later, everything stopped. She said the storm may have lasted 15 seconds but she believes it was a tornado.

“Inside my bedroom, the ceiling caved in,” said Jankoviak whose 5-month-old granddaughter usually slept in there. “Thank God we kept her out in the living room with us or I don’t know what would’ve happened.”

Jankoviak and her family moved out of the house. She was told it was going to take 3-4 months to repair everything. Shue did the same. She’s staying with her parents until her home is cleaned up. Insurance is paying for it all, which she’s grateful to have.

“You never know what's going to happen,” said Shue who’s staying good spirits. “I haven’t even had this house a year. It’s my first home, first experience. And if it wasn’t for insurance and everything I would be out of luck right now.”