10 years later: The Dexter tornado

Devastation impressive enough ended up with no deaths or injuries, moreso

Ten years ago the people of Dexter dealt with utter destruction from a tornado.

DEXTER, Mich. – When you talk to Dexter residents who were there a decade ago, they say their community came together impressively.

It made the rebuild easier, and drone 4 shows you in the video player above how you would never know an f-3 tornado decimated the neighborhood.

On Wednesday (March 23), Rod Meloni spoke with two people he met that night 10 years ago to get their perspective all these years later.

Sky 4 takes us back a decade as the devastation impressive enough ended up with no deaths or injuries, moreso.

That night, an overwhelmed James Boynton told Local 4:

“My van’s still in the garage, doesn’t work. My car over there. Neighbors houses have chairs in the windows. I mean, you know, find a place to sleep tonight. Find the next thing tomorrow.”

“We had to move out; it was condemned for a while,” said Boynton Wednesday (March 23).

Boynton recalls the day’s sheer terror back in 2012 as he was at work while his wife and two small children were at home.

“It doesn’t always seem like something you should take seriously, but the time you don’t would be the time you’ll regret it,” Boynton said.

Boynton arrived home to find his house obliterated.

It took 11 months to rebuild it.

That same night, half a mile away, Greg Ash found his Village Car Wash and Laundry similarly wiped out.

“We were just starting to have it pay off,” said Ash.

The Dexter tornado had tossed the building’s cinder blocks like wooden toy blocks. Some caught in the storm took refuge in the car wash and couldn’t believe what happened to the laundromat’s furnace.

“The person said that they saw (the furnace) bouncing off across the parking lot,” Ash said.

Ash told Local 4 that the telling lesson he took away from the devastation:

“It’s Just stuff. Everybody was ok in the community, and we could do what we can and get back to where we were all would be well.”

Boynton reminds residents to pay attention when the sirens go off:

“If my wife and kids had blown it off, they would have been in the living room that fell apart around them, so they went down to the basement, and everybody was ok.”

Ash said when the sirens sound, protect yourself first as the rest you can pick up later.

Ten years ago a tornado devastated Dexter.

Here is a portion of the Local 4 coverage from the evening of March 15, 2012:

More viewer videos of the Dexter tornado:

See a timeline of the tornado here.


About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.