Giant tree among Joliet damage

June 24, 2010 (JOLIET, Ill.)

A well-known giant tree at Raynor and Mason in Joliet is nothing like it used to be.

Residents call it The Tree because it's been around for so long and sat nearly as tall as St. Ray's Cathedral across the street.

Just west of downtown Joliet, one of the oldest trees in town literally split in half, barely missing Kay Champene's house.

"The first thing you think of is was someone walking on the sidewalk? We saw that it extended to the north and then out onto Raynor, and it's just a miracle that it didn't hit a car or a person," she said.

A crew had been on the scene for most of Thursday morning picking up the tree debris.

Cleanup continued there and around the town Thursday. IDOT crews had been in Joliet since midnight trying to clear all of the debris from state roads.

Dan Beazler said he will never forget Wednesday, which happened to be his 55th birthday.

"I think it had to be a tornado because it leveled my neighbor's back fence. It took pieces of trees from there and threw them out here and across the street even. It was a bad one, worse I have seen out here," said Beazler.

"I was looking out the window and all of a sudden the sky went black, and all of a sudden everything started turning around, and all of a sudden our power went out, and then we had to get downstairs," said 9-year-old Kevin Juhant.

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