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Gov. Rauner visits Pontiac after tornado damage

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Governor Bruce Rauner went to Pontiac Friday to get a personal look at the damage from Wednesday's tornadoes. (WLS)

Governor Bruce Rauner went to Pontiac Friday to get a personal look at the damage from Wednesday's tornadoes.

An EF-2 tornado touched down in Pontiac, which is about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, and destroyed a gas station and mobile home park.

Larry Ford and his wife Darlene said they never want to experience anything like Wednesday's tornado ever again.

"We were pretty shaky that night, I'd rate it at least nine or ten," Darlene Ford, said.

Like many other Pontiac residents, they consider themselves lucky after the dangerous storm.

"You could feel the pressure a little bit and kind of like a thump," Larry Ford said.

The tornado hit just after 10 p.m. It slammed into the mobile home park where the couple lives. That's also where their neighbor, Rachel Baxter, suffered a broken pelvis when her trailer was leveled by the storm.

"It felt like a really bad earthquake, too, and the next thing in know I'm being thrown from one end to the other end," Baxter, said.

Baxter, who was discharged today, her boyfriend and his six and 2-year-old were among the seven people treated for injuries suffered in the storm.

"We were very blessed that nothing seriously bad happened to anyone," Bob Russell, Pontiac mayor said.

Rauner thanked first responders as he surveyed the damage promising that aid to damaged areas would not be affected by the state's budget crisis.

"We also have programs of grants as well as low interest loans for low income families," Rauner said.

While over a dozen homes have damage about just as many businesses do as well, including a gas station, a car dealership and the town's Dunkin' Donuts.

"Hopefully after two, three weeks, everything goes back to normal Sam Patel, building owner, said.

The National Weather Service confirmed it was an EF-2 category tornado, packing peak winds up to 125 miles per hour that left an 11 mile path of destruction. Officials for the city of around 12,000 say they're thankful nobody died as they credit the town's warning system for saving lives.

"Those sirens going off played a big role, I'm sure, with the people taking shelter here," Chief Jim Woolford, Pontiac Police Department, said.

It's still unclear when rebuilding will begin in some of the hardest hit areas, still, people in Pontiac are vowing to rebuild.
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weathertornadosevere weatherstorm damage
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