Tornadoes destroy dozens of homes in Ill.

June 6, 2010 9:12:18 PM PDT
For many Illinois residents, Sunday was a day of cleaning up the damage from tornadoes that touched down over the weekend south of Chicago.The Saturday night storms tore a path of destruction through several farm communities, causing some minor injuries. No deaths have been reported.

The National Weather Service confirms two tornadoes touched down near Streator in LaSalle County, where residents suffered the most damage. Storms then continued on to Dwight in Livingston County, and later, caused damage near St. Anne in Kankakee County

"This is not fixable. There's no bedroom. The living room is standing, but the windows are out, glass everywhere. It's just rubble," said Streator resident Shelly Burkett.

Another resident, Patti Fortson, survived by hiding in her bathroom, but she was still shaken Sunday by the moments after the storm.

"This is the worst thing you could even think of. Just come out and hear the people scream," she said tearfully.

Homes on the South Side of the town sustained the most damage, and those areas were closed Sunday because power lines were down.

"This is not going to be a short time clean-up. There are at least 30 home that is had major damage or were completely destroyed. Several other houses sustained damage. Trees are down. Power lines were down," Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford said.

Businesses and agencies in the Streator area are offering assistance. The Salvation Army had seen 10 families already Sunday.

"We've seen a lot of need for hydration, and we helped people with their clothes and food situations right now," said Judy Booze of the Streator Salvation Army.

As serious as the damage is, there was gratitude Sunday no lives were lost. Cristina Macias, for example, found her relatives unhurt by the storm.

"Last night was the storm. Today, I'm happy because they are alive. Thank God," Macias said.

In the wake of the storm, residents and areas business alike were helping those affected. Some were offering to house residents, and business representatives were wandering around giving away snacks and water.

Tornado continues path of destruction through Dwight

After hitting Streator, the tornado continued on over I-55 and hit Dwight, where a mobile home park sustained the worst damage.

At least 100 people were left homeless in the park where it appears, not one, but two tornadoes touched down shortly after 9:30 p.m. Saturday. There were 14 injuries, but no deaths.

"It is completely gone. There's nothing left. It is basically flat. I have two Chihuahuas still inside. I know they're okay," said Daniel Carter, who lost his mobile home.

"There's a lot of people that don't have anywhere to go. People that have kids out there. I mean, everybody that lived out there had kids. That's going to be the biggest thing, finding places to go," said Jamie Anderson, who also lost her mobile home.

Still, both resident are lucky. They weren't inside their homes when the twister hit, a story repeated over and over Sunday in, which, no doubt, accounts for the low number of injuries and the fact that no deaths occurred.

Still, it was too dangerous to retrieve possessions inside damage homes Sunday.

"We have a curfew currently going on in this affected area until four o'clock tonight, which possibly will be extended, especially in the trailer park area. We could try to keep gawkers and people just wanting to drive to the community until we have a chance to assess the situation," Dwight Village Administrator Kevin McNamara said.

Cutting across the area, the path the tornado took is clearly visible from aerial video. Just northwest of Dwight, a freight train was blown off its tracks.

In addition to the 35 mobile homes destroyed, officials told ABC7 that at least an additional 110 houses sustained some sort of damage, from minimal to near complete.

In a community of 4,500 people, the impact is nothing short of severe.

Storm damaged sustained in other Ill. towns

After hitting Dwight, the tornado continued east and hit near St. Anne in Kankakee County. Chopper 7 HD video showed how the twister leveled one home. A car also was picked up and flipped over on its roof.

Right across the street, a house survived the storm but had some serious roof damage.

Amazingly, no one was reported injured in St. Anne.

However, other parts of Illinois were also hit by the storms. About 180 miles southwest of Chicago, multiple buildings in the town of Elmwood had their upper floors partially torn off, including a movie theatre where customers had been moved to the basement.

Also, in the town of Magnolia, just northeast of Peoria, several homes lost their roofs, large trees were uprooted, and power lines were downed.


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