Tree clean-up crews: Worst damage in a decade

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- An EF-1 tornado ripped up trees and knocked them into homes and onto power lines in several Kentwood neighborhoods. WZZM 13 followed along with tree clean-up crews and insurance agents who are beginning to assess the damage.

Even some of the largest trees didn't stand a chance. One of the smallest people around, three-year-old Kristin, made it her job to ease her neighbors nerves.

"She's been trying to hand water out our door and see if anyone needs help," says Christie Heine, Kristin's mother.

Kristin let the adults handle the big jobs, like removing large trees blocking streets, or cutting through homes.

"Stuff that you see maybe once every 10, 15 years unless you're on the coast looking at hurricane damage," says Brian Kwiatkowski, sales manager for Summit Tree Service. "We're getting structures uncovered, so insurance companies can do their work."

Insurance agent, Brett Younce, is even handing out emergency money.

"One of my clients needed additional living expenses, the house was not livable so I wrote them a check to get them in a hotel," says Younce an insurance agent with State Farm Insurance.

It's been a difficult process just getting through the streets, because of the number of different crews working on the clean-up effort.

"Just due to power companies trying to do their work, multiple tree companies trying to do their work, and of course you've got trees down blocking roads," says Kwiatowski.

Each person trying to pick up a piece of the neighborhood.

"A lot of power lines down, trees laying across them pinning them," says Allen Swartzmiller, a supervisor with Trees Inc.

It's a neighborhood that needs a lot of putting back together. A place where a little piece of mind can go a long way.

Clean up crews plan on being here for weeks and in some cases maybe months.


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