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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tornado victims return, see town’s rubble

Associated Press

FAIRDALE, Ill. – Residents of a small northern Illinois farming community that took a direct hit from a half-mile-wide tornado were allowed back into the area Saturday to assess damage and salvage what they could.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office bused residents into Fairdale at 7 a.m. so they could begin to take stock of what was left of their property. Seeing the wreckage up close for the first time since Thursday’s storms left some amazed that they survived.

“I thought my parents were dead,” said 32-year-old Adam Davis, who hopped into his truck Thursday and raced along with the tornado in the hope of getting to his parents’ house and rescuing them before the twister struck. He found them standing in their doorway frozen in disbelief and grabbed them just in time.

On Saturday, he was helping collect what could be salvaged from his childhood home, now full of debris, its roof ripped off and its windows broken.

Eight tornadoes roared across northern and central Illinois during Thursday’s storms, the National Weather Service confirmed Saturday. The strongest hit Fairdale, where two people were killed. That tornado also injured 22 people.

The weather service gave it a preliminary EF4 rating – its second strongest – with winds of between 180 and 200 mph. It was a half-mile wide and remained on the ground for at least 28.7 miles, a record long path for that part of Illinois.

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