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Sister Lakes Fire Department volunteers step up after last week's storm

SISTER LAKES, Mich. -- Sister lakes is still working on cleaning up after last week’s strong holiday storms.

Many community members are praising the volunteer fire fighters, but they are concerned about the lack of response from county leaders.

Concerned citizen and former Fire Chief Peter Lozada explained the extent of the damage to Sister Lakes.

“People have lost several trees, they’ve lost homes, and they’ve lost cars.”

He says the community is still dealing with the aftermath.

Following the storms, the volunteers at the Sister Lakes Fire Department went to work to pick up the damage.

“We probably had four or five trucks out there with guys in them,” Lozada said. “Roads were impassable, and we had a heck of a time getting around to get to people to make sure people were safe.”

The department began firing up their chainsaws, making sure power lines were safe, and cutting up trees to open the roads.

“We worked until it got to the point it was dark. We couldn’t see anymore, it wasn’t safe for us to be out cutting trees anymore.  But we cut until we had all of the roads opened up and people could get emergency services,” Lozada said.

However, some members of the community are unhappy with the Van Buren County Road Commission’s emergency response.

“It took almost a week for them to come out and do anything,” Lozada said frustrated. “The road commission has a policy until the lines are out of the trees. They want them all out of the trees before they will touch any tree to remove it.”

The tumbled trees and downed power lines are still impacting Sister Lakes, but the people recognize the work of the department and the other members of the community who stepped up during the storm.

“The thank yous and we appreciate your help and everything. It’s just unbelievable how much this community backs our fire department.”

ABC57 reached out to the Van Buren Road Commission and they said they are unable to cut down trees if there are power lines involved.

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