The Naperville community woke up to the remnants of a powerful tornado this morning with trees toppled over, roofs ripped apart and even entire walls whisked away.
“I feel overwhelmed,” said Shum. “I don’t know what is the next step. I cannot come back. From what I saw, it seems that it is not suitable to live in.”
Sunday night’s tornado devastated Naperville’s Cinnamon Creek subdivision, just off 75th Street and Ranchview Drive. The National Weather Service has classified it as an EF-3 on the Fujita scale, with wind speeds topping off at about 140 mph.
“[I feel] pity and sorrow for everybody that’s homes are totally damaged,” said Rich Cieslak, who also lives in the neighborhood – but his home was practically untouched by the tornado, aside from a downed tree in the yard. “Their lives are going to be changed forever and it’s sad.”
Naperville resident Annie Shum initially ignored the emergency alerts but quickly realized that the situation was becoming life-threatening.
“After maybe one minute or so the whole the whole house shook,” said Shum. “It was like an earthquake. Then there was like a bombing like sound because the windows broke, I was so scared. All the debris fell into the house and then water started to drop in. I was scared and called for help.”
More than 130 homes were damaged from the tornado, 22 of which enough so to be uninhabitable. About 1,000 houses were left without power. Perhaps the worst of it, was a home on Princeton Lane that became nothing but a pile of rubble.
“Glass and debris were all over our bed,” said Chen reliving the scary experience. “It was dark so you don’t know what’s going on. The first thing to do was move our kids away from the rooms. They were certainly devastated, but we’re going to have to deal with it.”
Eight people were injured and treated at Edward Hospital. Six have been released, two others remain in fair and good condition
“We have high winds that come through the city every year, but certainly nothing like this” said Puknaitis. “For a tornado to actually touch down and come through a community like this, damaging over 130 homes, is certainly something we don’t see in a regular basis in Naperville.”
Many are attributing both the emergency alerts last night and the swift action of the city’s emergency response team in the early morning hours as major players in preventing a single fatality. The Red Cross Illinois is making Thomas Jefferson Junior High School an overnight shelter for victims of the tornado. Meanwhile city officials are working with the American Red Cross to access the damage and to determine what donation and assistance is needed.