Local

Tornado causes damage in Kankakee County

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Residents of southern Kankakee County are cleaning up after a tornado damaged several homes and businesses in Pembroke Township near St. Anne.

The National Weather Service confirmed that it was a tornado that struck the area.

Amidst debris and destruction, the Wielgus family is counting its blessings.

"Material things can be replaced. People can't, so that's the good thing," said Angela Wielgus.

"It was like just crazy. Raining and the wind just going crazy," said storm victim Monica Robinson.

The storm damaged the roof of Robinson home and toppled this storage trailer in the back yard. One of three silos that used to be there was picked up and tossed several dozen yards across the street.

Fortunately, no one was home when the storm hit, though it took awhile to account for everyone.

"I was actually nervous for my stepdad, because we couldn't get in touch with him," Robinson said. "So all the way from Kankakee, I was crying, like, I hope he's okay, and I'm praying."

He turned out to be alright, and officials say no one in Pembroke Township was injured by the possible tornado, which was first spotted by firefighters around nine Wednesday morning.

"They called it in over the radio, so we immediately got in our trucks because we don't have any tornado sirens out here to go warn the neighborhood that we had a tornado spotted a mile from our fire station," said Chief Mark Baines, Pembroke Fire Protection District.

"My mom and dad lost their home to a tornado completely last year, and mine is able to be standing so it's no biggie," said Wielgus.

Officials say structures on at least three properties in Pembroke Township were damaged.

At one farm, trees were uprooted, utility poles were snapped and two cinder block storage buildings are gone.

The storm left its fingerprints all over Bob Hoekstra's farm field.

"Unbelievable what a storm can do. It carried debris probably a mile from this site here out in the fields, scattered it all over," said Hoekstra.

The buildings were used to house tools, snowmobiles, and motorcycles, as well as a 1949 Chrysler Windsor that's been in the family for decades.

"The buildings are totally damaged," said Hoekstra. "They're all gone, and what was in them they're trying to salvage as much as we can, but there was a lot of damage."

No serious injuries have been reported as a result of this storm

ComEd is not reporting any significant power outages.

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