Police Working to Secure Dark Neighborhoods, Damaged Homes Following Tornadoes

WYOMING, Mich. (July 7, 2014) — Police in Wyoming say at least 40 to 50 homes were damaged by Sunday night’s storm.  One of their highest priorities is securing the neighborhoods to keep properties safe.

“Our biggest problem right now is securing the neighborhoods, keeping people out who don’t belong,” Wyoming Police Chief Jim Carmody told reporters during a press conference Monday evening.

Carmody said his department planned to have significant patrols on both foot and in cars in the area for a couple of days to provide security as they work to identify and secure some of the homes which might not be occupied. Only residents who show ID will be allowed into the area.

“We’re asking people not to come into the area to gawk or take pictures,” he said. “That does prohibit us from getting equipment in and out of the area.”

The confirmed EF-1 tornado touched down Sunday night just west of US-131 near the M-6 interchange before moving northeast though the Wyoming and Kentwood area, according to Carmody.

The storm lasted about 10 minutes and traveled about 6 miles before dissipating near near 28th Street.

Wyoming City Manager Chris Holt expressed gratitude Monday that there hadn’t been any serious injuries, considering the damage.

“We’ve had a significant storm even here, but our residents are doing well and we’re working with them and they’re working with us,” Holt said.

Wyoming rescuers said they had seven reported injures from the storms, all minor.

The damage is concentrated to an area from about 56th Street south and from US-131 over toward Division Ave., according to Holt.

Ideal Park, just east of US-131 suffered extensive damage and will remain closed until further notice. The Parks and Recreation Dept. is working with individuals and groups who reserved the space in the park to reschedule events, according to a news release from the City of Wyoming.

The Salvation Army has established a temporary aid station at the Ideal Park Christian Reformed Church, 320 56th Street Southwest.

The American Red Cross has established a shelter at the Kentwood Activity Center, 355 48th Street Southeast.

Public Works is asking Wyoming residents with downed trees or tree limbs to place them inside the curb line so they are not by the road.  Residents can bring items to the yard waste area which is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Starting Monday for the next two weeks, Public Works crews will be picking up brush in that neighborhood only.

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