REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Imagine two giant tornadoes headed your way. For residents of some towns in North Central Illinois, this became all too real, after the tornadoes ripped through their neighborhoods Thursday evening, flattening communities and leaving at least two people dead.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has activated the state incident response center and two counties, Dekalb and Ogle, have been declared as disaster areas. This makes available state resources that can help devastated communities.
The Philippine Consulate in Chicago said there are about 466 Filipinos in Dekalb County and 69 Filipinos in Ogle County. There are about five thousand Filipinos scattered all over North Central Illinois. Philippine officials said they are monitoring the situation there and can say for now, that there are no Filipinos affected by the twisters.
In the town of Fairdale about a dozen homes were leveled by the tornado. Trees and debris were strewn everywhere and several vehicles were heavily damaged. Dozens of rescue crews used search dogs to go through the rubble looking for more victims.
“We have multiple teams from different agencies working together in this coordinated effort going systematically door by door, house by house, checking every vehicle, every structure for any potential victims that may exist in these buildings,” stated Dep. Chief Matt Knott of the Rockford Fire Dept.
The Dekalb County Sheriff said the damage is so devastating in the town of Rochelle, where there were multiple reports of injuries and damages. “It’s the worst thing I’ve seen. I know there have been more worse things any place, but when it happens locally, obviously it’s the same magnitude no matter what the size of the town or village, so it’s obviously distressing,” said Sheriff Roger Scott.
A tornado also cut a 22-mile path through Ogle County. Twenty homes were destroyed, and up to 100 houses had significant damage.
Governor Rauner expressed, “We believe now that the extent of this is a terrible loss and our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families impacted.”