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"I just had to sit and watch the water flow": Cleanup underway following Chesterfield flooding

Cleanup underway following Chesterfield flooding
Cleanup underway following Chesterfield flooding 02:34

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Seven tornadoes touched down last Friday in Michigan, causing widespread damage and forcing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency in Eaton, Ingham, and Livingston counties. 

It is an expansion of the original state of emergency declaration for Wayne and Monroe counties on Aug. 25.

The expansion also included the city of South Lyon in Oakland County. 

Macomb County was not included, as it was not hit with a tornado. Many people still had severe flooding, including the Blandino family of Chesterfield.

"The cover of it, the cover of it is just classic," says Jessica Blandino, who calls her 1968 first edition Captain America comic book her prized possession.

It's damp, like her other magazines in the garage, the backyard, and the living room, along with every other bit of Blandino's possessions that are laid out to dry.

"I just had to, after finding the cats, sit there and watch the water flow," Blandino said, recalling the night of Aug. 25 when flood waters "waterfalled" into her room through the egress window in her mother's basement.

Blandino's mother had to abandon her vehicle at another point in her subdivision the night of the flooding because the water was simply too high to drive through.

It's an area of Macomb County that Blandino says is not known for flooding, especially to this caliber. Without flood insurance, they have taken to websites like GoFundMe to gather money for repairs.

"The night that we called our staff in, that was the first thing that we did. We began recording, taking records, taking notes, and I think Macomb County emergency management is making that accumulation of documents to see if it meets that threshold," said Chesterfield Township Supervisor Brad Kersten when talking about the possibility of a state of emergency declaration for Macomb County.

Macomb County remains off of the list of counties in Michigan that are under a state of emergency, which is declared by Whitmer. While Kersten says that data is being collected, it's a waiting game, for now, to see if that threshold for state assistance will be reached. Kersten adds that they've been in touch with state lawmakers to help with the process.

"Hey, is there anything we can do to make sure that if there is any funding that we're included in that," Kersten said when recalling conversations with state lawmakers. "Obviously, the documents and the videos of what people saw is really going to drive that narrative and then ultimately what the expenses for the individual homeowner to repair that," Kersten said.

"We have to keep gutting, and then we have to rebuild. But rebuilding is not even in my mind right now. If it was salvageable, we brought it upstairs. If it wasn't, we threw it out, and the things that are salvageable, we're trying to dry right now," says Blandino as she and her family continue to recover what they can from the several feet of water that rocked their basement.

For a breakdown of how a state of emergency is determined in Michigan, go here

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