3 years after Woodridge was devastated by EF-3 tornado, some residents still can't move back home

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, June 20, 2024
3 years after Woodridge tornado, some residents still can't move home
Three years after an EF-3 tornado destroyed nearly 400 homes in Woodridge, some residents still haven't been able to complete repairs and move home.

WOODRIDGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Thursday morning, the village of Woodridge marked the third year since a devastating EF-3 tornado leveled many homes in the community.

"Today we still have families, three years later, out of their homes and have not been home since the tornado," said Mayor Gina Cunningham.

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The tornado struck at 11:10 p.m. on Sunday, June 20, 2021. It began in Naperville, where some homes were also destroyed, before cutting a catastrophic path through Woodridge, which bore the brunt of the damage.

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The tornado touched down east of Route 53 between 83rd Street and 75th Street, then traveled east to the Lemont Road area. It continued through Darien and Burr Ridge, which suffered damage as well.

Out of approximately 400 Woodridge homes damaged during the tornado, Cunningham said there are still a couple dozen families who have been unable to move back in because of insurance or contractor issues.

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That includes Maria Del Carmen Rivas, who returned to her condo Thursday for the first time in nearly a year, check on progress. She said contractors originally told it her it would take a few months to repair her home; as of today, it's been three years. She's staying with family and friends in the meantime.

"I feel like a hobo. I'm living out of a suitcase, going from place to place to place. And I'm lost," she said.

See our day after coverage of the Woodridge tornado

Tornado touchdown reported in DuPage (1 of 35)

While insurance has paid for many of the repairs, Rivas said the buildings were under-insured = to the tune of about $1 million. IN the meantime, she has continued to pay her mortgage, association fees and even property taxes for a condo that is uninhabitable. For the retired analyst, who lives on a fixed income, it's stressful.

"You see the catastrophic damage outside, but you don't see the catastrophic damage to the individuals," Rivas said.

Woodridge Neighbors Helping Neighbors has another fundraiser scheduled for next week. Rivas is hoping every step moves her closer to be able to move back into her home.