Disaster News Network Print This

Tornadoes stun rural IL

BY SUSAN KIM | FAIRFIELD, IL | April 22, 2002

"Two tornadoes joined together and hit a 6 to 7-block area in Fairfield."

—Ollie Mae Tyler

Residents of close-

knit communities in rural southern Illinois shared hugs

and tears Monday morning as they viewed the destruction

caused by tornadoes that ripped through Fairfield, Sims,

and the outskirts of Wayne City Sunday.

Eyewitnesses said two tornadoes combined into one,

picking up homes, vehicles, and trees as if they were

small toys.

"Two tornadoes joined together and hit a 6 to 7-block

area in Fairfield," said Ollie Mae Tyler, who has lived

there for 60 years. "One house had a van sitting in the

driveway, and it picked up the van and set it in the

living room. It was like it was a toy."

Several homes and businesses that sat at the crossroads

of Sims, a nearby tiny town, were leveled, she added.

"It just wiped out everything there."

The unincorporated area of Keenes was also damaged, said

Chris Tamminga, public information officer of the

Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Local churches were reaching out to help tornado

survivors Monday morning with some serving as American

Red Cross shelters, some working with county health

officials, and some sending volunteer teams to help

salvage people's belongings.

The First Baptist Church and General Baptist Church in

Fairfield were opened as Red Cross shelters. The Wayne

County health department set up a clinic in First

Baptist Church Monday morning to offer tetanus shots.

Members of General Baptist were serving hot breakfast to

storm survivors and emergency personnel.

The Fairfield Assembly of God Church also opened its

doors to shelter those affected by the storm.

The Greater Wabash Baptist Church was sending out crews

of volunteers to help people salvage what they could,

said church member Sharon Reynolds. Members of that

church were working with Southern Baptist disaster

relief, which was sending out trained volunteers who

were using chainsaws to help clear out debris.

"We are trying to set up childcare here for people who

need that service," added Reynolds.

Tyler said many clergy in Fairfield work together in a

ministerial alliance.

The tornado missed Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where

Tyler is a member, by less than a mile, she added.

"I watched one less than a mile away, too," added Judy

Bennett of Trinity General Baptist.

About 6,500 people live in Fairfield and its outskirts.

Largely farmland, the community also is home to a fuel

pump factory that was unaffected by the storm.

Damage assessments in Wayne and Jefferson counties were

ongoing. Two people were killed and dozens were injured.

Related Topics:

Rare PA tornado damages homes

Wicked weather hits NE Texas

Tornado hits Michigan town

More links on Tornadoes

Find this article at:



DNN Sponsors include: