Utica Cleanup

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Hours after a tornado ripped through Utica, a sense of panic and disbelief raced through the small Illinois town.

"It's a disaster. This place is ruined," says 20-year resident Jim Vicich.

Houses leveled, power lines ripped and raveled, debris blankets the town of 1,000.

"Structurally I don't think the house is going to be worth saving," says Michael Decker.

Decker was home with his two children when the tornado tore off his roof and his garage fell like a house of cards.

"My step daughter is nine. My son is almost three and all he can say is ‘my house is broke’," says a teary Decker.

The destruction is so bad downtown they won't even let us take our cameras there because of safety concerns, but residents say many of the city's landmarks have been destroyed.

"It will be a long time before this place gets back on its feet, if ever," says Vicich.

Family members gathered at a hall outside of town to try and track down loved one, but frustration sent in.

"I'm angry. I'm upset. I just want to bring my mother home," says Patricia Schwiderski who lives just outside of Utica.

Residents who are safe and sound are counting their blessings.

"They have people missing and people dead. We came out of it without a scratch. What can you say?" Decker says.

Many Utica residents are at a loss for words in the wake of the tornado.


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