Homeowner after semi truck destroyed house: It was mechanized death

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A blown tire - that's all it took for a tractor trailer to lose control and destroy a home in northern Macomb County.

Luckily, nobody was at home at the time and amazingly the truck driver is okay.

"It's wild," said homeowner Charles "Chuck" Vanfleteren. "It is still ... I don't know when it is going to set in. Because I am used to watching this on TV and seeing it happen to somebody else."

Vanfleteren is still wrapping his head around the freak accident that turned his new house into a pile of rubble. 

It happened at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. A tractor trailer headed westbound on 26 Mile had a blowout near Omo road causing it to veer into oncoming traffic, hit a pickup truck, and then, the house.

"I heard something that sounded like an explosion," said neighbor Darlene Abita. "And I ran out the door."

Thankfully he was not inside.

"If there was anybody in there - a cat couldn't have moved fast enough to get out of the way," Vanfleteren said. "It was mechanized death."

He bought the house a year and half ago. It was stripped to down to the studs and given the HGTV treatment with new siding, windows, electrical and plumbing, destroyed.

But Chuck says that pales in comparison to the antique furniture and collector items that was lost inside.

"The first thing that I panicked about is that everything was in the basement because I have trains," he said. "A whole bunch of HO Scale trains, custom painted, Grand Trunk Western."

The semi rolled right through Chuck's house and into the historic Mead cemetery damaging headstones. And as bad as this is, Chuck and his neighbors are relieved no one was seriously hurt, there were only minor injuries. 

"It is amazing, I would say that is the most amazing part of the whole thing," said neighbor Matt Cavanary. "Everything that happened on 26 Mile, thank goodness that he wasn't home. To say that nobody was hurt and everybody walked away is just incredible. I don't believe in miracles, but I guess you would say it was a miracle."

The house was insured, and it is unclear if the township will let him rebuild. In the meantime, he's going to stay in a hotel for a few nights and neighbors are offering him a place to stay.