After a storm knocked out their electricity and flooded their basement, three children and their grandmother died in a house that filled with carbon monoxide from a portable generator.
The bodies of Maude Priester, 55, Darrell Hughes, 11, Tiera Hall, 6, and Jordan Burns, 6, were found Friday, increasing the death toll to 16 from storms that tore through southeastern Michigan on Wednesday.
Neighbors said Priester’s husband, Benjamin, had the generator running outside but brought it in the house to pump water out of the basement.
“It’s believed the generator being used to supply the home with electricity filled the home with carbon monoxide gas,” said police Officer Allene Ray.
Damage from the storms, which spawned heavy rains and several tornadoes, continued to be tallied Friday. Michigan State Police said almost 1,000 homes and businesses had been damaged or destroyed. Nearly 400 people were stranded, and there were 104 reports of injuries.
Utility crews were scrambling to restore power to 120,000 customers, Detroit Edison Co. spokeswoman Lorie Kessler said.
The deadliest hit came in the affluent Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Farms, where two children, their mother, a cousin and an aunt died of multiple injuries and drowning after the wooden pavilion they were huddling in for shelter was swept into Lake St. Clair.
A woman died when a tree fell on her near Flint.
In Detroit, a lawn service worker died when a mower brushed by a bush hiding a live wire, and a woman died when the car she tried to move during the storm pinned her against her garage.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.