Tornado IL: Storm near Springfield rips up trees, damages buildings; children's agency in path

Decatur, IL also nearby storm's path
ASSUMPTION, Ill. -- A tornado touched down in central Illinois Thursday afternoon, ripping up trees and damaging homes.

The weather event occurred in Christian County, about 40 miles southeast of Springfield, WICS reported.

Several towns in the area are pitching in to help with cleanup.

A children's agency called Kemmerer Village in Assumption, Illinois, which takes care of about 200 kids, providing residential services for surrounding counties, was right in the tornado's path. The agency has been there since 1914.

Executive Director Schales Nagle said when she saw the funnel, concern and fear for the kids were her first thoughts.

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"It was pretty shocking. What's most shocking I think is the damage that it did on our northern end, while the southern end is untouched," Nagle said. "So it's very disconcerting to have something hit this close to home, for sure."

Kemmerer village staffer Brett Beck said lucky is an understatement because, within five minutes, it went from sunny to a tornado, and no one was injured.

"There were over 100 people on campus at the time and nobody got hurt. It's just immeasurable how lucky we were," he said.

Nagle said the cleanup of all the branches will take a few days. But she said she would take damaged trees, cars and buildings any day, compared to what could have happened.

She said a church in Effingham has already called them to donate supplies, so they can get everything fixed sooner rather than later.