Residents of three states struggled Monday to recover from tornadoes that destroyed a third of the buildings in this southeastern Illinois town and injured more than four dozen people.
"It looks like this place has been bombed," Mayor Jack Loeffler said Sunday from an emergency command post in a bank.Twisters hit the Illinois towns of Mill Shoals, Albion and Allendale on Saturday afternoon before moving into Indiana and touching down near Vincennes. Late Saturday, a tornado cut a two-mile path through the southern Kentucky community of Franklin.
Fifty people were injured in Illinois, and 22 remained hospitalized Sunday. The three people injured in Indiana were released from hospitals by Sunday; no injuries were reported in Kentucky.
"After seeing everything that's happened, we were pretty lucky no folks were hurt," said Simpson County Judge-Executive Ken Harper in Kentucky.
The National Guard was sent to the tornado-ravaged areas of Illinois and Kentucky to help with the cleanup and to prevent looting.
Loeffler said the tornado cut through a 10-square-block area of Allendale, destroying 53 homes and nine businesses, as well as the post office, fire station, city hall and a school.
On Sunday, the National Guard and other emergency workers cleared trees and power lines that had been knocked down and other rubble from streets, but hadn't made much headway on houses, said Gen. Donald Lynn.
Police said people whose homes were destroyed were staying with friends or relatives in town, and about a dozen were taken to shelters.
Shocked officials and residents of this town of 600 assessed the damage Sunday.
"It's a mess is all you can say," said Allendale resident Linda Griesemer. "Houses are flattened, windows blowed out, roofs gone."
Gov. James R. Thompson toured Allendale and flew over the other affected areas. He said he planned to declare Allendale a state disaster area.
In Mill Shoals, two or three mobile homes were overturned and a few homes and farm buildings were damaged. In Albion, five buildings were damaged but there were no injuries, said Mayor Earl Bailey.
In Indiana, a twister came within a mile of Vincennes Lincoln High School, where 2,500 people were watching a junior varsity basketball game when the storm knocked the school's power out.