Butler County Times Gazette
  • Former resident reports on tornado

  • Former El Dorado resident Laura Nightengale had first-hand experience with some of the tornadoes that hit Illinois over the weekend.
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  • Former El Dorado resident Laura Nightengale had first-hand experience with some of the tornadoes that hit Illinois over the weekend.
    Nightengale, daugther of Diane Nightengale of El Dorado, is a reporter for the Peoria Star Journal in Illinois.
    In one of the stories she helped write, it was reported:
    WASHINGTON — At least one tornado killed one person, injured dozens more and decimated hundreds of homes as a storm system moved through Pekin, East Peoria and Washington. Thousands were left homeless and more than 23,000 were without power.
    One fatality was reported as of Sunday evening, a Washington man who was not identified pending notification of family members by the Tazewell County Coroner’s Office. About 75 people were treated in area hospitals, most for minor injuries, after the devastating storm. More than a dozen were admitted.
    More than 100 homes in Pekin were severely damaged, authorities said.
    Washington was the area hardest hit by the storm. Hundreds upon hundreds of homes were destroyed by the twister that hit the city about 11:05 a.m.
    Tears welled in Washington Mayor Gary Manier’s eyes and he struggled to speak during an impromptu news conference Sunday afternoon in the historic downtown square, which was not damaged.
    “Devastating. A war zone,” he said of the affected area. “I walked through one of the hardest hit areas and four streets of homes are gone. ... I couldn’t tell what street I was on.”
    Early reports of looting throughout the city and a continued focus on recovery efforts led Washington police to set a daily curfew of 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. through next weekend, according to Illinois State Police Trooper Dustin Pierce. Proof of residency will be needed to get into the city.
    Locally, the event prompted a reminder from the El Dorado City Commission to residents to listen for the storm sirens when they are tested at noon the first Monday of each month. If residents do not hear the sirens they were urged to call the city offices to report it.
    Brad Meyer, public works director, also reminded people they are outdoor warning systems and not meant to be heard inside one’s house.
    Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.
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