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3-year-old killed after tree falls into Livonia home, tornado touches down

tree in livonia home
Posted at 8:54 PM, Jun 05, 2024

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — A 3-year-old has died after a tree fell into a house and a tornado touched down in Livonia on Wednesday.

  • Two fundraising pages have been established for the Livonia family, click here for oneand here for another.Friends of the Drake-Sergison family gave 7 News Detroit permission to share the GoFundMe fundraiser and photograph.

The National Weather Service confirmed that the tornado was an EF1 with winds estimated at 95 mph. It touched down near Schoolcraft Road and Eckles Road and lifted near 7 Mile Road and Middlebelt Road.

NWS will survey the area.

VIDEO: Crews drive through Livonia neighborhood Thursday after tornado hits area

Driving through Livonia neighborhood after Wednesday's tornado

According to the Livonia fire chief, firefighters were dispatched around 3:35 p.m. for a tree that fell into a home on Houghton Street near Schoolcraft and Newburgh roads.

Multiple trees were down in the area. When firefighters arrived, they found a “massive tree” that was uprooted and went into the roof of the home, Livonia Fire Department Chief Robert Jennison said.

VIDEO: Watch Chopper 7 above the home

Chopper 7 over home tree fell into in Livonia

The tree landed in a bedroom in the back of the home where the 3-year-old and the child’s mother were. The tree pinned them to a bed.

Jennison said all available units in the city were dispatched to the home. The Western Wayne County Urban Search and Rescue team was called to assist at the scene.

Crews worked for about an hour to get the tree off the home, removing parts of the roof. High-pressure lifting air bags were used to free the victims.

“About a dozen chainsaws and 25 firefighters cutting the tree to pieces until we could get enough of the weight off to be able to lift the massive trunks off of her and remove her from the bed,” Jennison said. 

Livonia Fire Department Chief Robert Jennison
Livonia Fire Department Chief Robert Jennison talks about a severe storm that killed a 2-year-old on June 5, 2024.

The 3-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The mother, who remained conscious during the rescue effort, was taken to the hospital in critical condition. She was being treated by paramedics as she was being rescued.

A 2-week-old was in a crib that was in another room. That room was not impacted by the fallen tree. The baby was taken to the hospital by firefighters with the grandmother.

TREE IN LIVONIA HOME

“This was a very traumatic scene. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the victims. This was a tough day,” Jennison told reporters at the scene.

"We have a lot of fathers and they have children that are similar ages. But this is what they do. This is what they train for. There’s going to be some healing that needs to go on after this, but this is what they’re here for and this is what they do.”

There were no warnings issued or sirens heard during the storm.

“It was just a very quick, pop-up storm talking with the National Weather Service and something which is very unpredictable to determine,” said Brian Kahn, the director of emergency preparedness. “This is a tragic day and this is a part of the job that we all hate. And being a father myself, it’s just something I couldn’t even possibly imagine.”

Brian Kahn livonia
Brian Kahn, the director of emergency preparedness in Livonia, talks about a severe storm that killed a 2-year-old on June 5, 2024.

Officials are working to clean up the area and get roads back open. DTE is working to restore power in the area, Kahn said.

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

People living in the area spent hours cleaning the damage left behind.

“Just gives me goosebumps. Hope I never have to go through this again,” said Susan Hill, who lives on Houghton Street.

Screenshot 2024-06-05 at 11.29.41 PM.png

Neighbors are mindful of the tragedy that happened nearby knowing for the victims and their family, the damage will never be repaired.

“We can always put stuff back together. Can't get somebody's life back,” neighbor Kevin Martyka said.

Screenshot 2024-06-05 at 11.30.16 PM.png

Hill said, "She's just the sweetest person I've ever met and the little boy was just so cute and I hadn't seen the baby yet. And I'm just saying prayers for her.”

Two fundraising pages have been established for the Livonia family, click here for oneand here for another.

Editor's note: Officials originally reported that the boy was 2 years old. We have confirmed he was 3 years old. The story has been modified to correct the age.

Related: Gas station overhang collapses on pump, causing fire in Farmington Hills


7 News Detroit reporter Brett Kast contributed to this report.