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Tornado-Ravaged Dexter Looks Ahead to Rebuilding Process

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Photo: Video by fox47news.com

Tornado-Ravaged Dexter Looks Ahead to Rebuilding Process

By FOX 47 News. CREATED Mar 17, 2012

DEXTER -- Michael Leir has lived at his home in Dexter Village for 12 years.

"I can't believe it," he told us on Friday. "People always say this won't happen to me, and then it does."

His home was ravaged Thursday evening by a tornado that ripped through around 5:30 p.m.

"Like they say, it sounds like a train coming," Leir says. "And then your ears pop 'cause of the pressure."

He and his family are staying at an Ann Arbor hotel, but as he says, that can only last for so long.

"It's a lot of paperwork," Leir says of dealing with his insurance company (he imagines the damage to their house will be covered). "A lot of people coming through, handing you business cards. It's overwhelming. I had to leave for a couple of hours just to get away. I mean, it's chaotic."

Hundreds of people across Dexter Village and the surrounding areas are facing similar obstacles after at least two twisters wound through that region.

The largest, which touched down in Dexter Village, packed winds of 135 miles an hour and had a 10-mile path.

The Red Cross went to work Thursday night and into Friday, setting up two shelters for the displaced and going door-to-door to offer services.

"We're making sure everyone's staying hydrated, has the emotional support that they need," says Jenny Hawes. "We're handing out clean-up kits; obviously, there was lots of debris."

The Washtenaw County and Dexter authorities, meanwhile, spent the day assessing damage to homes and roads, and say this community is banding together.

"We have had an outpouring of volunteers, support," said County Sheriff Jerry Clayton. So many volunteers, in fact, that they had to turn many away.

"The spirit of people in Dexter is remarkable," said state Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township. "How one neighbor is out asking another neighbor to see what they can do to help."