Important new information on Dexter tornado recovery

(WXYZ) - As the affected communities begin to recover from Thursday's storm, Washtenaw County is providing information people in the hardest hit communities may need.

"We survived this with no loss of life or significant injury and that's a testament to a number of different factors," said Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton.

One of those factors was the tornado sirens.  The sirens went off 26 minutes before the tornado touched down in Dexter.  The siren alerted residents to take cover at 5:09 p.m. 

James Boynton's wife and kids were home when the tornado hit.   "She's good, she was with the three kids, kids are fine, nobody got a scratch, everything's good," said Boynton.

Those who were trapped in their homes were immediately rescued by any one of the first responders, police agencies, and fire departments immediately on scene.   

"We'd like to express our gratitude to all our first responders in terms of how they addressed this challenge and the Dexter residents themselves," said Sheriff Clayton.

The sheriff's department is currently assessing the needs of individual residents and public structures before addressing the need for state aid.

"Before we can determine exactly what resources and needs are in the community we must know what the damage is.  We are also in the process of recovery," said Sheriff Clayton.

Recovery is removing debris from the roadways and trying to reopen main roads.  For those who can't go back to their homes tonight, the Red Cross is providing shelter at the Middle School.   

Because of storm damage Dexter-Pinckney road is closed from Island Lake to North Territorial. Detours are being posted. The road will remain closed until the downed trees and power lines are cleared.

In the village of Dexter any calls about village services (including water, sewer, tree repair, sidewalks, streets and flooding) should be directed to (734) 426-8303.

There is no water boil advisory because the backup generators kicked for the Dexter area so the water is safe to drink.

In Dexter Township calls about those services should be directed to either (734) 475-2628 or (734) 260-5875.

If you see a downed power line anywhere in the area affected by the storm your should assume it's live and call DTE at 1 (800) 477-4747. You should also call that number if you smell natural gas.

Anyone cleaning up their own property should haul the debris to the curb, but your should not put them in the street. Dumpsters are being brought to the area and Department of Public Works crews will load any debris into them.

However, if you have a crew coming to the area to assist in the cleanup, make sure the contractor has a work order with your name, address and a description of the work they are providing. Companies without a work order are not being allowed past the police check points.

"We don't have all the answers yet, as the cleanup continues we may be looking for volunteers, but for now, anyone who has reached out or called we are taking your number down and if there is an appropriate spot to get people involved we will," said Shawn Keough, the president of the Village of Dexter.

Anyone wishing to help out should not come to the area. At this time officials are not asking for volunteers and say they are not being allowed into the area because of safety and security concerns. Officials will put out a call for volunteers if and when they are needed.

Monetary donations are being accepted through the American Red Cross and will be used to support the residents in the community. Anyone wishing to donate can call (734) 971-5300.

If you have any questions not covered by the above information call (734) 426-8303.

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