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4 injured in tornado released from hospital

COAL CITY – Just over a week after a tornado hit the Coal City and Diamond area, all four people who were injured in the storm have been discharged from the hospital.

One of the four was treated and released last week.

“At this point, the three remaining patients have been discharged from the hospital,” Coal City Village Administrator Matt Fritz wrote in an email.

Three of the four injuries occurred at a farm house at Berta and Spring roads, just down the street from Coal City Fire Protection District’s Station 2. This location was the fire department’s first call after the storm.

In addition to this good news, Fritz said Monday, the communities of Coal City and Diamond are beginning to move forward.

“The feeling of the initial response and shock is beginning to finish and we’re just trying to look up the relief necessary with each individual address,” he said.

On Nov. 17, an EF2 tornado ripped through the area, with winds faster than 120 mph damaging about 220 homes. It was one of 24 tornadoes to touch down in Illinois that day during unseasonably warm weather, according to the National Weather Service.

As the towns move forward, officials are trying to relay information to residents and volunteers.

Since the tornado hit, the outpouring of volunteers and donations has been significant. The United Methodist Church took on the charge of handling food and supplies donations, but will no longer be taking donations after 4 p.m. today, Fritz said in the email.

The Mazon State Bank will continue to take donations for the Diamond and Coal City Tornado Disaster Relief Fund.

Providing services for those affected by the tornado will continue to be coordinated, as well. The Red Cross will assist with a joint Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) to be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the Diamond Banquet Hall, 55 S. Daly St., Diamond.  

“There the residents will find many useful and beneficial services from our state, local, community, government and nongovernment partners. This one-stop informational shop will help residents as they begin their recovery process,” Fritz said in the email.

Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc said she is hoping the area will be declared as a federal disaster area, which would allow municipalities and counties to apply for federal reimbursements to help pay for storm damage repairs and to help area businesses.

Gov. Pat Quinn sent a request Monday to President Barack Obama, asking him to designate 15 Illinois counties, including Grundy County, as federal disaster areas. The entire Illinois Congressional Delegation – including U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, who represents Grundy County – sent a letter to Obama also asking for the disaster declaration.

“Gov. Quinn indicates that the damage to homes and businesses in these counties is of such severity and magnitude that effective response and recovery is beyond state and local capabilities,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “ ... We respectfully request that you make the necessary declaration so that these counties can receive the assistance they need.”

The village will continue to coordinate with volunteers to help on an ongoing basis as affected homeowners need assistance, Kernc said. On Monday, Chicago and Joliet firefighters were in the area helping to trim damaged trees.

“I look forward to this next year as we rebuild,” Kernc said.

“We want people to continue to have high spirits and hopes, and to continue to move forward,” she continued.

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