2-year-old boy killed, mother hurt after tree crashes through roof during tornado

Tornado; Livonia

LIVONIA, Mich. — A 2-year-old boy was killed and his mother was critically injured on Wednesday after a tree fell through the roof of their suburban Detroit home during a tornado, authorities said.

The incident occurred at about 3:37 p.m. EDT in the 14000 block of Houghton Street in the western Detroit suburb of Livonia, WDIV-TV reported.

The child was killed when the massive tree was uprooted during the tornado that swept through the area and crashed into the home, according to WJBK-TV. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy’s mother, who was lying in bed with her son at the time, was critically injured and transported to an area hospital, the television station reported.

According to Livonia Fire Department Chief Robert Jennison, there was also a 2-month-old child in a crib in a different room, along with the family’s grandmother, WDIV reported. The woman was not hurt but was taken to an area hospital for an evaluation, according to the television station.

“We were informed by the Livonia Emergency Management that a 2-year-old child was killed, and his mother and a 2-month-old infant were injured,” Steve Considine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township, told The Detroit News. “This was due to a tree that fell on their home.”

The weather service confirmed the tornado as a low-level EF-1 storm but no warning sirens were activated, according to the newspaper. Officials said the tornado developed rapidly and did not allow the agency time to warn 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,” Considine told the News.

“This is a very traumatic call as we have a lot of fathers that have children who are similar ages, but this is what they do and train for,” Jennison said. “There’s going to be some healing after this, but this is what they’re here for.”

Jennison said rescue efforts required about a dozen chainsaws and 25 firefighters cutting the tree into smaller pieces, WJBK reported. It took approximately an hour for the massive trunks of the trees to be lifted.

The fast-moving storm damaged the areas of Newburgh and Schoolcraft, according to the television station.

“It was crazy, it does look like a tornado,” resident Lisa McLeod told WJBK. “I think in 2013 or 2014 we had one that kind of zig-zagged through the neighborhood and took tons of trees out - that is kind of what it looks like.”

Debra Eisel added that the storms were a surprise.

“We had no warning,” she told the television station. “Usually the sirens would go off for tornado warnings, we had no warning at all. It just hit us like, boom.”

“This is a terrible tragedy for our community,” Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken, too, and we send our deepest sympathies.”

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