Illinois Regroups After Tornado
PLAINFIELD, Ill. — WITH the last of the missing accounted for, survivors of a deadly tornado in northern Illinois turned their attention toward repairing their shattered lives and protecting what was left of their homes. ``We are satisfied that we located all the people,'' Police Chief D. E. Bennett said Wednesday.
At least 26 people were killed and more than 350 injured from a band of tornadoes that shattered houses, schools, and apartments at mid-afternoon Tuesday, officials said.
Gov. James Thompson (R) declared Will County a state disaster area and President Bush issued a federal disaster declaration.
The storm was the worst to hit the area since tornadoes in 1967 which killed 55 people. Chicago is at the northern end of the nation's ``tornado alley,'' which runs from Texas northeast to Michigan.
Civil defense sirens that sounded in part of the area just before the storm hit may have saved some lives, officials said.
The National Weather Service acknowledged that it issued no tornado watch before the storm hit and that the first warning was issued six minutes after the tornado destroyed the apartments.
Will County Executive Charles Adelman said the outpouring of support from the surrounding area was so heavy, many volunteers were being turned away.
``We're getting just hundreds and hundreds of calls from people as far away as Iowa offering time, food, and generators,'' said Salvation Army spokesman Robert Cotner.
Numerous corporations answered the call for help sending cash donations, soft drinks, food, clothing, and even offering hotel rooms to the homeless.
The Soviet Union, which received help from Illinoisans during the Armenian earthquake in December 1988, also offered its assistance to tornado victims.
A Soviet Embassy official in Washington called Illinois's office in Washington and said it wanted damage and homeless figures so it could lend a hand.