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Western Illinois Tornado; Governor Promises Assistance

Rich Egger
The storm pushed grain bins off their bases and crushed them.

The tornado that tore through the Warren County community of Cameron caused extensive damage.  But no one was killed and no serious injuries are reported.

Governor Bruce Rauner toured the town Friday afternoon to take a look at the destruction and the recovery efforts.

“This is what Illinois is really all about – people coming together to help each other,” said Rauner. 

Credit Rich Egger
Governor Bruce Rauner thanks a utility worker in Cameron.

“This was an incredible tragedy. We have to say our prayers, thank God, no one was seriously injured.  When you look at the devastation in this community it’s a miracle.”

Rauner also thanked firefighters, police, and volunteers for their efforts.  And Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson told the Associated Press that when residents of Cameron heard the sirens, "They did exactly what they were supposed to do," and found shelter.

The state still does not have a budget, nearly three weeks into the new fiscal year, but Rauner said the state will help with the recovery in Cameron.

“There are some emergency resources as well as state personnel who are here to help. And we’re going to do everything we can to bring the resources to bear,” the governor said.

Rauner said “well over 100 buildings”  -- including homes and other structures – were damaged. 

Credit Rich Egger
Tornado damage in a residential area of Cameron

The tornado struck around 7:30 pm Thursday. 

James Joseph, Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said the magnitude of the storm is not yet known.

“We’re looking forward to working with the National Weather Service that’s here now and that have been on-site. And they’re going to be assessing the impact of the storm so we can determine the severity and the magnitude of it,” Joseph said.

Credit Rich Egger
James Joseph (left), Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and Governor Bruce Rauner in Cameron.

Joseph added several tornadoes touched down in Illinois Thursday. It appears just a single tornado was responsible for the damage in Cameron.  It’s believed tornadoes also struck Delavan and near Port Byron.

Rauner and Joseph were accompanied by State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), whose district includes Cameron; State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson), whose district borders Hammond's on the east; and State Representative Randy Frese (R-Paloma), whose district borders Hammond's on the west.

Credit Rich Egger
More of the damage in Cameron

Cameron’s population is around 350.  Illinois State Police said there are about 150 homes in the community.  State Police said natural gas service was expected to be restored by 2:00 pm Friday and electric service could be restored by 10:00 pm Friday.

Governor Rauner said the heat wave predicted for the next few days will pose further challenges in Cameron and elsewhere.  He urged people to take caution and make sure they have somewhere to go to stay cool.

Credit Rich Egger
The tornado shoved this building off its foundation.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.