Illinois town left ‘like a war zone’ after tornado

Jacob Byk

When driving east on Washington Street, the flatlands of farms and forested parks fall away into a small community of 15,000. The town of Washington, landlocked by agriculture and gargantuan pine trees, experienced an EF-4 tornado that only took four seconds to destroy more than 1000 homes.

“It looked like a war zone,” Ed Henderson said as he warmed his hands over a trash fire six days after the natural disaster. The foundation and basement, which saved his life, are the only remains of his home. His trailer is missing; though, he found his Harley Davidson in a creek and his truck in someone else’s home, bent in half.

Despite the number of homes destroyed, only one life was lost. Many claim this is because of the timing. The majority of the community was at church when the tornado hit.

As the sun set on the devastated community, a cold breeze billowed through the hollow shells of homes. American flags, now tattered and torn, dangled from cars and piles of debris. The fate of the community is unknown given the amount of devastation. Demolition starts on Monday.

Contact Jacob Byk at [email protected].