Homeowners return to survey damage from Midland County floods

Mid-Michigan homes, roads destroyed by massive flooding after dam failures

Authorities were assessing damage Thursday as floodwaters from heavy rains that overtook two dams retreated in some mid-Michigan communities and continued to threaten others further downriver.

MIDLAND, Mich. – All day, Thursday, people in Sanford saw the damage that’s left, for the first time. Road block signs cover Sanford, blocking access to the city, but the main barrier was a bridge that washed away.

READ: ‘Catastrophic’ flooding, evacuations in mid-Michigan as dams fail: What to know

There is damage all over the Midland Area, after the Edenville Dam broke and the Sanford Dam was breached late Tuesday night. About 10,000 people forced to leave their homes, “This is pretty devastating,” said Hilton Headley.

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Hilton Headley and his family were just one of the 10,000, who left not knowing if they’ll have anything to return to. Thursday, flood waters still covered their neighborhood, so his son and daughter-in-law hopped in a canoe, to see what’s left of their home, “This will be the first time, they seen it. I never seen it quite this high, but back in 86 it was up here quite a ways,” said Headley.

Just up the street in Midland, Phil Stauffer checked out his home, after evacuating. Most of his home is okay, but his garage was flooded, “We are incredibly blessed. At the end of the day, they are just things and they can be replaced.”

“Baseball fields, a bingo parlor, it’s all under water. I seen it under water before, but not like this,” said Dan Janko.

Dan Janko recalled what the Sanford area used to look like. He would drive the stretch of Saginaw Road to Sanford almost daily, “I come down here all of the time. There’s a hardware store on the left, what used to be a IGA store on the right.”

But now the very bridge he would cross is washed away, “It started coming up an inch a minute,” said Janko.

He lost his dock and most of the steps, “We’re one of the few that didn’t leave.We didn’t leave because we weren’t going to leave the cats and dog,” said Janko.