La Salle County Tornado Damage Assessment and Recovery Efforts Continue

Mar 8, 2017

Damaged houses in Naplate
Credit NWS

Cleanup and assessment continues in the wake of the tornado that hit La Salle County last week.

Two people died as a result of the storm that ran straight through the Village of Naplate and the south side of the City of Ottawa.

Connie Brooks is the director of the LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency. She says she and others have been out every day to assess the damage, and have some preliminary numbers.

“The City of Ottawa had forty-one structures that we consider uninhabitable. The Village of Naplate ended up with almost thirty structures that were uninhabitable. So you’re looking at over seventy structures that sustained considerable damage,” she says.

She says several hundred structures in the area suffered damage to a lesser degree.

Brooks says the LaSalle County Nursing Home suffered a lot of roof and window damage, but is structurally sound and will be repaired.  She says in the meantime most residents are staying at other care facilities.

Brooks says volunteers are welcome, but don’t just show up – you might be turned away.

She says if someone wants to help, they need to register with an area agency, the North Central Illinois Council of Governments, by calling 815-435-5830.  She says most people’s intentions are good-hearted but, unfortunately, not all.

“We do know that there is a very small percentage out there that has an ulterior motive. Our citizens are very vulnerable right now. And so, we want to respect that, and keep them safe, by going through this volunteer vetting process,” she says.

Brooks says officials will continue to assess the status of the affected communities on a daily basis.

Brooks says people’s needs are being taken care of.  The Salvation Army is accepting donations for disaster recovery, while the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation is accepting monetary donations for the repair and rebuilding effort to come.