FORERESTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Monday’s severe weather hit people in Ogle County particularly hard. The Village of Forreston was forced to shut down access to its community. First responders and leaders say the destruction is like they’ve never seen.
“It’s basically just total devastation, it’s totally gone,” said Forreston Fire Chief Mark Daws.
Severe weather Monday afternoon cracked trees in half like toothpicks, tearing down power lines and sending 5 people to the hospital in the process. Powerful storms forcing Forreston leaders to block off all entrances into the village and issuing a disaster declaration.
“Law enforcement has shut down all roads into Forreston out of an abundance of caution and to allow first responders access to provide life and safety measures to the residents of Forreston,” said Forreston Village President Mark Metzger.
“It was just like, out we go, and everything else is clicking and dropping and wires down. It was first just trying to keep everybody safe,” Forreston Police Chief Mike Boomgarden explained.
Whipping winds left Candlelight and Springbrook mobile home parks unrecognizable. Village leaders say the damage is something they’ve never seen before.
“I’ve been on the fire district for 39 years, and this is the worst I’ve seen in Forreston,” Chief Daws said.
“We had indications that we were going to get straight-line winds and hail, I never saw any hail, but definitely saw the winds, straight-line or otherwise. It was probably one of the worst I’ve seen in my career,” Chief Boomgarden explained.
Although residents were warned of the storm before it hit, over 30 Ogle County first responders were called to assist at scenes across 48 blocks.
“We’ve brought on extra staff to continue to make sure the public is safe, and we’ve brought on extra staff here in Forreston for tonight to make sure that you know we keep people out tonight when everybody goes to bed,” Ogle County Sherriff Brian VanVickle said.
As residents survey the damage, the Leaf River Valley Complex and the Salvation Army are lending a helping hand to those in need.
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