A tornado plunged into densely populated suburban Chicago communities, damaging more than 100 homes, tearing down trees, removing power and causing numerous injuries.
At least eight people were hospitalized in Naperville, where fire officials said 22 homes were destroyed and dozens more damaged when a tornado was hit by 11pm (04:00 GMT) on Sunday night, according to city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche.
Around 5 a.m. Monday (10:00 GMT) more than 120 other complaints of property failures were received in the 147,500-person neighborhood about 40 miles west of Chicago. The population was expected to grow as the damage progressed, he said. About 450 power outages were reported.
“He’s lucky it didn’t get any worse,” LaCloche said Monday morning. “We have a lot of utility poles and electrical wires down and damage to the trees.”
The video showed several large trees falling and damage to homes and vehicles. Some gas spills were reported in Naperville, and crews went door-to-door to close the lines, LaCloche said.
Officials in the nearby town of Woodridge said a tornado had damaged at least 100 structures. The head of the village fire brigade said three people had been taken to hospitals, but could not give further details about the injuries at a press conference on Monday.
Police Chief Brian Cunningham Woodridge said initial warnings told people to take refuge and it is likely to reduce the number of injured.
“It was a night event, a lot of people were asleep, they didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “The initial warning led people to take refuge. And the fact that only three people were injured and the destruction in the community is amazing. “
The storm destroyed the second floor of Bridget Casey’s Woodridge home. Before dawn on Monday, he was sitting in a chair on the sidewalk. Nate said his 16-year-old son was watching TV when the storm broke and he ran to help his mother get her three little siblings into the basement.
“I’ve just heard a big crash and I’m thinking, ‘what are my brothers doing?’ I look up and see the sky, and then I hear my brothers screaming from the room, ”he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Mayor Gina Cunningham said the damage to the town’s homes and other property was “extensive”.
“I’m emotional because I’ve grown up driving in a community where I’ve worked and worked with so many wonderful neighbors,” he said.