Windstorm causes extensive damage in Battle Creek

Posted at 8:13 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 20:13:35-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Garbage cans were knocked over. Trash was flying into people’s yards and branches covered the streets. It’s what Vicki Dickinson said she saw on Wednesday.

“The wind was terrible,” said Dickinson during an interview near her home. “I sat in my living room, looked out the window and I was watching all the garbage float by.”

It was garbage pick-up day on Vale Street that day, she said. But people’s trash was tossed back and forth by the windstorm. The City of Battle Creek said they received 50 reports of fallen trees and large branches blocking roads.

“We’ve got some power lines going down like right here,” said Dickinson looking at line dangling in front of her neighbor’s home. “It’s still a live wire as far as we know. The fire department was out yesterday and they tied it off and blocked it off.”

Several streets in Battle Creek were taped off, especially ones with downed power lines. Consumer Energy said the high winds caused thousands of homes and businesses to go without power since Wednesday afternoon.

“It was awful,” said David Hawks whose brand new TV was damaged when FedEx tried to deliver it. “It was a replacement television and the man had it on a dolly. The wind caught it and [it] rolled across our yard. So not only did we lose power, we lost a replacement television.”

Hawks was told that his power won’t be restored until late Sunday night. So when he woke up this morning he went to the Tractor Supply store and bought one of the six generators they had left. He said everyone on his block is using a generator and they’re all abiding by the rules of running them outdoors.

“Make sure that if you’re going to run a generator, make it outside,” said Hawks during an interview in front of his home. “Don’t put it under any kind of cover. We already lost one family here a couple of weeks ago running a generator. We sure don’t want that to happen again.”

Last week an 11-year-old girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the adults she was with left their generator running inside their makeshift home in Springfield. The man is in critical condition and the woman has improved to “stable.”

Crews with the City of Battle Creek and Consumers Energy said they will continue to work around the clock to restore power to homes. They're also repairing the few inoperable traffic signals and cleaning up the debris. Dickinson hopes they come to Vale street soon.

“Come on out,” said Dickinson with a smile. “I know you’re doing a good job but come on down this way.”