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Tornado Aftermath One Week Later: 'Progress'

Glass, puzzle pieces, even a domino sit in piles on a farm on Irene Road in Kirkland, just outside of Fairdale.

Trucks loaded with broken bricks and concrete make trips along a normally busy road, but it’s their turf now going back and forth.

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Credit Jenna Dooley
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a toy horse is part of the debris on a farm in Kirkland, Illinois, outside of Fairdale

It’s the reality of one week after a storm.

Carissa Brendle’s father-in-law saw the twister coming, so he headed down to the basement of his newly built home and called his son who lived nearby.

“It was built in the last five years," Brendle said. "He had a previous house here before, but it was lost to a fire seven years ago.

The homeowner made it out okay, but it’s back to the drawing board once again for the family.

“We are going to re-build up from all of the foundation,” Brendle said. "The floors are still good. We are going to rebuild it. We are hoping and rebuilding all of the sheds that were here also and the barns."

Barb Eyster of Rochelle wanted to help, but the roads leading into Fairdale are still closed off.  When she saw this farm in need, she and some friends got some rakes.

“We are just trying to organize piles of wood, things that can burn or be salvaged-- metal, and things that can be kept and re-used at some point.”

Chad Connell is Fire Chief of Kirkland. He says if he could sum up the week, it would be progress, but much remains to be done.

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Credit Carl Nelson / WNIJ
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WNIJ
Kirkland Fire Chief Chad Connell speaking to the press April 10, 2015

“I think there’s maybe about less than 10 residents that are actually living in their homes now because their power has been restored. Everybody else is living with relatives and friends and making their way to the site every day,” Connell said.

He says there are advantages and disadvantages of working in the small community.

“The advantages, I think, are that we do have a personal connection with the people of Fairdale. One of the people that passed, I was able (and my wife) to spend two hours with [their family] telling stories, and that sort of stuff.” -Chad Connell, Kirkland Fire Chief

Connell expects the heavy clean-up will be wrapped up in the next week and a half.

Then, he says, things turn from recovery to rebuilding.

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