Recovery from tornado could take a full year, Naperville officials say

In Naperville, officials say it will take up to a year to fully recover from Sunday’s tornado.

On Tuesday, crews were repairing water service, checking for gas leaks, and inspecting the damage as new volunteers arrived to lend extra hands to the cleanup efforts.

Sunday’s powerful tornado damaged more than a hundred homes and structures in Naperville, making 19 houses uninhabitable, injuring 8 people. Two are still in the hospital, a couple who were trapped under debris when their house collapsed. 

Volunteers have helped homeowners sort through the debris, saving items, but officials are concerned about the safety of those affected and those trying to help.

Naperville Deputy Fire Chief Amy Scheller says she has seen people walking in flip flops or not using gloves to remove jagged pieces of wood and rock. She and other public safety officials are trying to coordinate volunteers for their safety and security.

Scheller told FOX 32 News that the fire station nearest to the damage zone was itself damaged in the tornado. Firefighters rode out the weather in the basement, then rushed to the collapsed house on Princeton Court and quickly assembled a rescue team to free two people. 

When firefighters were done with their shifts, they returned to a tent at the fire station. The building was deemed uninhabitable until a tree could be removed.

The tornado touchdown was confirmed about 11:10 Sunday night near Route 53 and 75th Street in Woodridge, the National Weather Service said. The tornado — packing winds of more than 100 mph — also hit portions of Downers Grove, Darien and Burr Ridge, smashing cars, ripping roofs off homes, downing power lines, shearing off garage doors, uprooting large trees and spewing debris thousands of feet into the air.