Toddler Killed, Mom Hurt when Tree Falls on House in Livonia, MI

June 6, 2024
It took more than an hour for Livonia firefighters and a county rescue team to reach the trapped victims.

Jakkar Aimery

The Detroit News


A 2-year-old was killed Wednesday when a tornado, part of a broader storm system that hit Michigan, swept through Livonia and toppled a tree that landed on the family's house.

His mother was hospitalized in critical condition; a 2-week-old sibling and grandmother in the home when the tornado hit were uninjured but were evaluated at a hospital, said Livonia fire Chief Robert Jennison.

Fire crews arrived at the home in the 14000 block of Houghton Street at about 3:40 p.m. and found a "massive hardwood tree" had fallen on the house. The tree fell across the back of the home, where a mother and her 2-year-old were lying in a bedroom, the chief said.

A county search and rescue team was called, and crews worked "over an hour, removing parts of the tree and lifting the tree with high-pressure airbags to extricate the victims," Jennison said.

The National Weather Service said an EF1 tornado hit with winds up to 95 mph.

"We were informed by the Livonia Emergency Management that a 2-year-old child was killed, and his mother and a 2-week-old infant were injured," said Steve Considine, a meteorologist with the service in White Lake Township.

Livonia residents reported there were no warning sirens ahead of or during the storm. The weather service said it didn't issue a warning, saying the tornado developed rapidly and did not allow the agency time to alert residents.

"We had a special weather statement out for the thunderstorm, which produced 40 mph winds, (but) we had a rapid development of the tornado right over Livonia, and it developed and dissipated very quickly, so that it was difficult to put out a warning on such a quick spin-up of a tornado," he said.

Livonia police reached out on Facebook to the grieving family.

" The Livonia Police Department offers its deepest condolences to the grieving family who lost their child in a tragic accident when a quick developing tornado struck multiple neighborhoods, causing a tree to fall on their home."

Livonia officials said on Facebook that the storms created damage in several parts of our city. Livonia Parks and Recreation closed Rotary Park near Six Mile and Merriman roads and urged residents to avoid the park.

The weather service said late Wednesday that the tornado's width was 450 yards and it's path was 5.5 miles and began near east Plymouth on Schoolcraft and Eckles roads, and ended in northeast Livonia near Seven Mile and Middle Belt roads.

" Rotary Park is temporarily closed due to storm damage," park officials said on social media. "Mother Nature collapsed part of the roof on the main shelter and knocked down several large trees throughout the park. Please avoid the park until we get it all cleaned up."

Sheri Redd has lived in Livonia for 33 years and said she never saw a storm there like the one that hit the city Wednesday, which downed a tree onto her bedroom on Hubbard Street. No one was home at the time, she said.

"... My home is surrounded by oaks and maples, and I could see the trees behind my house that looked like the tops were just cut off," she said. "It was breathtakingly odd."

Residents were asked to notify the city if downed trees were blocking streets and roadways, park officials said. Reports can be submitted at or by calling Livonia police's non-emergency line at (734) 466-2470.

Communities in Macomb and Oakland counties also sustained thunderstorm wind damage around 4 p.m., the weather service said.

In Farmington Hills, at a Citgo gas station near 10 Mile and Middle Belt, the canopy collapsed with vehicles beneath it. A portion of the covering and a gas pump burst into flames at about 3:45 p.m., the city said. One person had minor injuries.

"Gas station employees were quick to initiate the station’s emergency shut off," said Farmington Hills officials.

DTE Energy reported more than 22,900 of its customers in the dark Wednesday night following the storms. The utility said crews "are working hard to restore power to impacted customers as quickly and safely as possible."

About 1,100 Consumers Energy customers reported outages, according to an outage map.

Reports of downed trees also were reported in Carsonville in Sanilac County, and several downed trees and power lines were reported across St. Clair County, both where gusts up to 60 mph blew through the Thumb region, the weather service said.

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