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Tornado cleanup still underway in Niles 10 days later

NILES, Mich. -

An EF-1 tornado tore through the city of Niles on February 28, leaving several blocks severely damaged. 

“We’re just trying to help these people get back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Tony Davis, a field technician supervisor for First Response.

Limb by limb and log by log, a seemingly unending cleanup effort was still underway in Niles on Friday.

City workers and restoration crews were scattered all over.

They were moving at a quick pace, trying to cram in as much cleanup as possible so rebuilding can begin.

“[We] do the water restoration portion of it,” said Davis. “After that’s done, then you want to do, like, the drying portion. Once that’s done, the rebuilding comes in after that.”

Davis and his team are working on several homes in the area, including one of the hardest hit on Fifteenth Street.

It belongs to David Jenkins, who described the tornado in an interview on March 1, the day after it hit.

“Literally when it first popped off and these windows blew out, I was probably 12 feet away from them,” said Jenkins. “So I got glass flying everywhere – like, literally, projectile glass flying everywhere.”

A tarp now lines his roof.

Debris is still scattered throughout his yard.

His screen door is still stuck in a nearby tree.

Some homes in the six-block area that got hit have been left unlivable.

And though the mess is disappearing one tree at a time, some lives have been changed by this tornado.

“I feel bad for these people,” said Davis. “We’re doing the best we can to help them get back home.”

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