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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Default Tornadoes devastate Utica, damage in Granville and Joliet

    Early report from the Aurora paper:


    Valley crews rush to town hit by twister

    4 hurt, 4 missing in Utica

    By Brian Shields
    SPECIAL TO THE BEACON NEWS

    While the Fox Valley escaped the worst of Tuesday evening's ominous weather, local rescue workers raced to LaSalle County to help a town that was not so fortunate.

    More than 50 firefighters and paramedics, including personnel specially trained in building collapses, traveled through heavy winds and rain to Utica, a town of 1,000 people near Starved Rock State Park.

    Reports from Utica Tuesday night had four people injured and four missing, with multiple buildings either destroyed or damaged and a family trapped in a collapsed building.

    State Trooper Tim Reppin said four people were rescued from the wreckage of buildings and were treated at a high school before being taken to hospitals.

    Tracey McLeod, a photographer visiting her mother in Utica, told the LaSalle News-Tribune she saw two people under the rubble at a tavern that had collapsed. Tree limbs littered the city, and the walls of nearby Utica Elementary school were still standing but the roof was gone.

    Utica's city hall, which also houses the police station, was destroyed, Reppin said.

    Emergency crews traveled from Aurora, North Aurora, the Tri-Cities, Oswego, Sandwich and other towns in Kane, Kendall, DeKalb and LaSalle counties, while other nearby towns, such as Naperville, expanded their local coverage area in case the weather turned for the worse at home.

    "We got the call from down there, and we called Aurora and some others," North Aurora Fire Chief Steve Miller said. "We get the call, and we go. There was nothing happening here; we didn't even get an alarm.

    "A bunch of guys left from here at about 8 o'clock. I just got a call from one of my guys (at around 9:25 p.m.), and they're trying to get an assessment of the situation."

    KenCom, Oswego, Sandwich and Bristoll-Kendall fire protection districts also sent units down, with a stream of trucks and equipment seen heading south on Route 71.

    This response was the first of an expected wave of workers and equipment from all over Illinois, as a statewide mutual-aid bulletin went out sometime after 9 p.m.

    "We didn't have heavy damage here. We sent down a truck and six guys to help," Aurora Fire Battalion Chief Dale Hoorelbek said. "They just call for help, and we just send them."

    For the local area, much of the evening went by with residents waiting for a tornado which never came.

    The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings for Kane, Kendall, DeKalb and DuPage counties, and a rotational storm was spotted about five miles west of Oswego after 8 p.m., but there were no reports of a tornado touching down.

    Aurora turned on its storm sirens at 7:25 and 8:25 p.m. in response to National Weather Service reports, but the warnings expired with a lot of rain, some wind and not much else.

    Oswego police reported being under a tornado warning that was extended three times through 8:15 p.m., with at least a half-hour's worth of reports of the rotational storm, which was heading northeast. However, scattered power outages were the only consequence by 9:15 p.m.

    In Yorkville, tornado warning sirens sounded at about 7 p.m., just as the City Council's Committee of the Whole meeting was set to begin.

    Mayor Art Prochaska moved the session to a conference room in the lower level of City Hall, where the council met for about an hour.

    At one point it looked like the meeting would resume upstairs, but then the sirens blared for a second time at about 8 p.m.

    Prochaska again sent about two dozen people in attendance downstairs until it was apparent the weather had improved, then called the meeting off for the night.

    "I want to make sure it is safe for people to leave," Prochaska said.

    The mayor said this is the first time he can recall that a city meeting had to be canceled due to severe spring weather.

    In Joliet, City Manager John Mezera said a home had been "blown down" and a roof had collapsed at a drugstore.

    The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for much of Northern Illinois, and tornados reportedly had touched down in Will, Putnam, Kankakee and Marshall counties.
    -----------------------------

    This started out as a MABAS response, then went to a Statewide activation for TRT teams.

    The focus is around a tavern in the downtown area which collapsed; they are still hoping to find up to four people, possibly trapped in the basement.

    More as it becomes available.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Default

    Couple of pics from the Trib:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Default

    >
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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    >>
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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    .
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    >>>
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    Sad to see and hear that. Utica is such a nice little town with the old buildings and stores. I grew up in Princeton IL and have visited Utica many many times over the years. The Burgoo festival will be interesting this year.

    Prayers and well wishes sent from Danville.

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    Tornados can do such a tremendous amount of damage in such a short time. We've had our share down here and I hope I never see another one. I saw on the news at noon that they were digging for some victims. Hope they find them OK.
    How close is the damage to some of you northerners?
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    Luckily, here we only had one barn with some farm machinery in it damaged. We are approximately one hour south and west of the hardest hit areas.

    Our thoughts and prayers are extended from West Central Ill. and MABAS Div. 31.

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    Jack is right. They do a lage amount of damage in a few seconds. We had one go through my grandfathers farm almost 20 years ago and destroyed every building. We still find small debris once in a while in the fields.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the devistated area. We may see some of the damage first hand tommorow. Myself and three others will be heading up to the MABAS executive board meeting at Carol Stream.
    Proudly serving as Vice-President of the Illinois Delegation of the IACOJ

  11. #11
    GFDSlappyRob
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    My prayers go out to all the residents of Utica, and hope that thier loved ones are found safe and sound. I would also like to send my prayers to to all the guys who came out on a paid and volunteer status, including myself. I would also like to give a round of a applause to the command staff who made a hectic scene scene work that much better. The firefighting brotherhood" an awesome certainty, and last night was a test of true compassion for people and the "Brotherhood". I was suprized to see that many fire departments and ems personnel came more than 150 miles away to lend a hand. In my book they are true "Heroes". That was just my 2 cents worth.

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    Forum Member lauraboczek's Avatar
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    we're mapping lasalle right now, and as part of the map, we have to do all of lasalle county...they called today with a list of buildings we have to take off of the map before it can go to press because they don't think that they can be rebuilt within the next couple years...so sad
    "Well behaved women rarely make history"

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    We were called down on the state TRT responce on We. morning, it is very hard to describe the extent of the damage.
    While I only worked down there for a day, I'd like to thank the people of Utica for their hospitality while we were working. Over the years I've been to several large disasters and by far the people of Utica are the kindest and most greatful that I have ever met.
    God Bless

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    Default Utica

    My prayers go out to the residents of Utica that lost their loved ones. I was part of the Division 13 team that responded for the state wide request. I have never experienced anything like that. I was not involved with the fire service for the Plainfield trategy. I thank all the brothers and sisters that responded to Utica's aide. An exceptional job was done by all. I also thank the residents of Utica for the great hospitality. After our team worked for many hours it was nice to be able to rest for a few and eat a meal. Our team took some pictures that I may post for educational purposes.

    Thank you,
    medic2001

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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    For those interested parties in the area:

    Div 13 will hold a critique tomorrow (Tuesday).

    There will be an incident-wide critique on April 29th in Frankfort.

    Email me for times and actual locations, if interested.

  16. #16
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    Exclamation Utica Storm Pictures

    Here are some pictures a local photographer took during and immediately after the storm. Pretty impressive pictures of the tornado.

    http://www.wildlifescenicphotos.com/utica_storm_photos.htm

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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    jstafrftr-
    Thanks for that link.

    Awesome pictures.

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