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Breaking News

Victim of Fairdale tornado identified

KIRKLAND - Authorities are scheduled to update the public on the situation this morning after a tornado destroyed much of Fairdale, injuring several people and killing a 67-year-old woman.

DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller on Friday identified the victim as Geradine M. Schultz, who was killed at her Fairdale home. In a news release, Miller said Schultz died as result of injuries she suffered during the storm.

The Salvation Army said in a news release that it was sending three canteens to the affected areas, manned with food, snacks, and hydration to provide material support to first responders, emergency crews, victims and others affected by the tornado.  

“Right now we’re going to the affected areas wherever there might be damage and coordinating with police, fire and rescue agencies to assess what’s needed and be prepared to provide immediate assistance to the victims of these storms,” Major David Dalberg, Emergency Disaster Services Director of The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division said in the release. “Our services will be adapting as needed over the next 24 hours based on the needs of local residents. We are prepared to provide spiritual and emotional support to those who have suffered material losses.”

The Salvation Army said it was accepting donations, although cash was preferred to in-kind donations. You can donate to the effort online or by calling 1-800-725-2769.

Pamela Metcalf was watching Thursday's tornado from the kitchen of her Wheeler Road home of 14 years with her husband, Howard, when things took a turn for the worst.

"We literally heard that train sound, and I got my three dogs into my bedroom, closed them in there, and my husband and I ran into the food pantry underneath the stairwell, and that's where we sat and watched and waited," Metcalf said. "The house shook like Dorothy in 'Wizard of Oz,' and when it got quiet we peaked out the door and there was nothing there."

When it was over, the couple's house was gutted and stripped of its attic. Trees, some of which they estimated were 100-years-old, were uprooted.

Metcalf's barn was leveled, as were all the other outbuildings on the property, except for a chicken coop.
Her house was destroyed.

"[It] was an incredible mess," Metcalf said. "Glass, debris everywhere. All the windows were blown out," she said. "The Weber grill - the lid to that is laying in the dining room."

Homeless, the Metcalfs stayed with a friend on nearby Irene Road.

After tornadoes touched down in and around DeKalb County on Thursday, emergency crews from around the area converged in Fairdale, a small, unincorporated town of between 500 and 600 people located west of Kirkland on Route 72.

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle addressed media at Flagg and Center Roads northwest of Rochelle about 9:45 p.m., and said 18 to 20 homes were either gone, or completely destroyed. His home was in the latter group, as was that of his sister and brother-in-law across the street. "My house is gone," he said during the staging.

But even though no family members were home – human ones, at least – the dog somehow survived. The sheriff said, while their were no lives lost, there were many "walking wounded." He attributed the considerably happy ending to ample advance alerts.

In Rochelle, 14 people were trapped inside Grubsteakers restaurant, which collapsed during the storm, but they have since been rescued, fire officials said. There were no immediate details on injuries.

In two subdivisions west of the intersection of Center and Flagg roads in the city, emergency crews were doing house-to-house checks to ensure residents were OK.

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