Tornado debris removal to begin Wednesday in Fairdale

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As soon as the tornado cleared Fairdale, Ill., many people came to help. (WLS)

Tornado recovery is far from over in northern Illinois. But residents of Fairdale and Rochelle are taking steps to return to normal this week.

ComEd crews laid down power poles on Monday and hoped to have power restored by Tuesday. But DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said in order to turn the electricity back on safely for all Fairdale homes, restoration may be delayed until Wednesday.

Families with homes that sustained less severe damage have been allowed to spend the night in their houses so far, but only if they had generators. Others have been forced out at the end of each day after hours of labor-intensive work.

DeKalb County Emergency Management Coordinator Dennis Miller said curbside debris removal officially begins on Wednesday and will last until April 27. Residents can move rubble from their private property onto the street for pickup.

The sheriff said Tuesday that Route 72 will remain closed in Fairdale until further notice. Fairdale is congested with truck traffic and volunteers helping residents go through what is left.

"It's quite congested - very busy. A lot of progress is being made within the village itself, physically. We're pleased about that," Scott said.

No major injuries have been reported during cleanup. Kirkland firefighters are on site in Fairdale to help with minor injuries related to debris removal. The fire department said volunteers are encouraged to wear long pants and sturdy boots to avoid bumps and bruises.

Zoe Jennings, of the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team, said 1,356 volunteers have registered to help tornado victims since Saturday morning. She said they are being sent out with experienced team leaders to ensure safe cleanup.

People can find out more about how they can help on the Village of Kirkland's volunteer page.

Although going through the rubble can be physically and emotionally draining for residents, they're pushing forward.

"We'll persevere. We have to. There's no choice. But everyone's lives have been be changed in some way, shape or form," said Ed Silvers, who watched the sun sent from his porch in Fairdale for the first time in 35 years Sunday night.


Food and clothing donations have come in droves. But they are no longer being solicited, since many recipients do not have a home to store things in.

Volunteers at the Kirkland Fire Department are distributing donated items to those in need. Anyone still in need of supplies can go to the Kirkland Village Hall's website for a full list of locations where supplies will be available.

Monetary donations are still being encouraged. The American Red Cross is accepting them at Please be sure to designate "Fairdale, Illinois Tornado Relief" on donations.

The Chicago Cubs plan to collect donations for tornado victims in Fairdale and Rochelle at Tuesday night's game against the Cincinnati Reds. Cubs staff members will accept monetary donations at the gate, before the game begins.

The money raised will benefit the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a McCormick Foundation campaign that supports nonprofits providing disaster relief.

The team said proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will also benefit organizations helping tornado victims. The McCormick Foundation also plans to match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar.

Those who can't make it to Tuesday night's game can still donate at through Sunday, April 19.

For more information on how to help the victims of the tornado, click here.
Related Topics:
weathertornadovictimsDeKalb CountyOgle CountyIllinois
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