Tuesday night’s strong storms kept the Rockford Fire Department busy

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Tuesday night’s storms may be over, but Stateline residents are still cleaning up the mess it left behind. 

Broken tree limbs, some hanging over sidewalks, are just some of the damage caused by last night’s thunderstorms.

“I am laying there, in bed, and I heard this sound. It sounded like… it wasn’t thunder, but it sounded like wood breaking,” said Jack O’Hara, who heard the sound of a tree coming down just across from his home on Sandy Hollow Road.

The storm knocked it onto the power lines.

“My radio went off and my alarm clock, that I have by the side of the bed, started flashing, and that means we lost some power,” O’Hara recalled.

O’Hara wasn’t the only one dealing with the storms. The Rockford Fire Department was busy responding to about 40 calls for help.

“We had quite a large number of our group out there, but it wasn’t anything that completely tapped our resources,” said Michele Pankow, Division Chief of Operations.

Those calls ranged from downed trees and power lines, to drivers getting stuck driving through floodwaters, something firefighters are always reminding drivers not to do.

“You don’t know what’s under the water,” Pankow said. “You can’t see where there would be holes and things of that nature. Don’t walk in the water, don’t drive in the water. Turn around and find another way.”

For the firemen, preparation is key. Once they know what kind of storm they are up against, they create a game plan.

“With storms, there’s always the potential for heavy rain. There’s a potential for high winds. Winds bring another set of problems: downed power lines, downed trees, downed limbs. Based on what the history of a storm is producing prior to this area…we try to plan accordingly,” Pankow said.

Despite all of the storm damage, Rockford Fire says there were no reports of injuries.

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