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Sheriff shares positive message after tornado causes ‘massive destruction’

PORTAGE, MI — Officials gathered at a public safety station in Portage to inform people about the devastating tornado that paved the way for destruction.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller took a moment to share the good news:

“No one was killed,” Fuller said, recalling words he shared with an 11-year-old boy at one of the damage scenes. “In the end, everyone is alive, you will see your friend again.”

Fuller compared the event to the deadly 1980 Kalamazoo tornado.

“Forty-four years ago, a much more tragic event occurred that took the lives of five people,” Fuller said. “Because they were attentive last night and heard the alerts, lives were saved. We’ve heard more than one story where people said, “We just got out of there.” »

He considers it a success.

Thousands of trees were felled, leaving behind “massive destruction,” he said.

AT&T FirstNet implemented a system that helped install more towers and help everyone use their cell phones so they could connect to their families and keep emergency services running.

Portage Public Safety Chief Nick Armold said the damage was devastating, but officials confirmed no one was missing.

“We double-checked and double-checked all (the hardest-hit areas) to make sure no one was trapped there, no one was stuck there,” Armold said.

The warning systems worked perfectly, he said, and there were few injuries.

“It makes it sound like someone was definitely looking out for us,” he said.

Portage Mayor Patricia Randall said more than 100 families were displaced from their homes. All fire departments in the county, and some outside, came to the city’s aid last night.

RELATED: For families displaced by tornado, community rushes to help

The city is working to address the storm’s impacts on its streets, some of which are moving slowly due to downed trees and non-functional signals, as well as other issues.

“Basically, our goal today was to take the chaos and bring calm,” Randall said.

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