Strong storms rip through Oak Lawn

June 5, 2011 (OAK LAWN, Ill.)

Powerful winds and rain brought down trees and power lines Saturday afternoon. ComEd says up to 10,000 customers were left without power.

Responding crews worked throughout the night and said their first priority was to remove the downed power lines before they could begin removing the trees.

Many customers said their electricity was back on by 5 a.m. Sunday.

Some residents say that storms arrived at approximately 4 p.m. and were brief, but intense. Winds reached 75 miles per hour winds near the central area of village and toppled 20 to 30 trees, including a 30-foot tall tree that crashed in the middle of 54 Avenue.

In one case, a tree limb crashed through the roof of a home that the owner had recently restored from tree damage a few months ago.

In another case, a tree smashed in the roof of a car parked on the street.

"Honestly, I just thought it was kind of funny. I was talking maybe a half hour before this that I was going to make the car last for another year or so, and I just come up and there is a tree on my car. There is not much more to do than laugh at it," car owner Philip Egan said.

"I don't know of anybody in the neighborhood that got hurt," said Jim Egan, whose son's car was crushed. "Carlson's around the corner, their house, that's the second time their house has been hit in about 3-4 months by a storm, so feel badly for them."

When the storms hit, residents say they took cover in their basements and bathrooms.

"When the tree came down, it was unbelievable. The noise was so loud, and there was so much power from the storm. It was scary, you know. We got scared out there, and then it calmed down, and then it stopped a little bit and then the power went out," said Oak Lawn resident Eric George.

"I feel lucky because it hit the garage and nothing else. It's not a big deal, you know. Got to take a tree out of here and build a new garage, but it could have been a lot worse," said Tim Hanno, also an area resident.

The worst damage seems to have occurred near the center of Oak Lawn along 96th Street between 52nd and 54th avenues.

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