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Storms leave property damage in Wilmington

Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:10 p.m. CST
(Lathan Goumas –
A tree lies on top of the garage of Bob Mueller and Sue Roose at there home in Wilmington on Tuesday. The tree fell during a series of sever storms that moved through the area the previous night.
(Lathan Goumas –
A tree branch protrudes through the ceiling of Joan O'Hara's Wilmington apartment. O'Hara said she was sitting in her living room when a tree adjacent to her apartment building was knocked down in a severe storm.

It could have been worse.

That was the word on the street Tuesday in Wilmington, where wind-swept destruction from Monday night’s storms was visible in the form of uprooted trees, mangled power lines and widespread power outages.

Some streets and neighborhoods were better off than others, but the entire city went without power overnight. Many were still without power as of Tuesday afternoon, emergency management officials said, and it was unclear at that time how many ComEd customers were waiting for their power to be turned back on.

Asked if any sections of the city were hit particularly hard , Dennis Housman, director of the city’s Emergency Management Agency, said, “Pick a street, any street.”

High winds uprooted several trees along East Street and County Road near Route 53 in Wilmington. One massive tree destroyed a garage at Joliet and Mill streets. Crushed inside were the homeowners’ 2013 Mustang GT and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with “just 600 miles on it.”

“It was so dark last night that we couldn’t see anything, but when the lightning lit up the sky, I said ‘Oh my god, the tree is on our garage,’ ” said Sue Roose, 60, of Wilmington. “There was nothing we could do. I’m just glad. It could have been worse.”

She and her boyfriend’s home went untouched, she said, but high winds were strong enough to lift the couple’s sidewalk near the garage out of the ground.

“It was like something out of the ‘Wizard of Oz,’” Roose said.

Some residents in the area reported returned power by the afternoon.

Ron Henderson, 47, of the 400 block of East Street, found out ComEd restored his power while he and a group of family and friends were cleaning up his backyard, equipped with chain saws and tree cutters. A tree fell on his home last night, causing the entire house to shake, he said.

“It sounded like a bomb went off,” he said.

Monday’s storms left the city’s famous Route 66 landmark, the Gemini Giant, untouched, but mangled powerlines and tree branches could be found just steps away at East and Baltimore streets.

A tree on the west end of a two-story apartment building splintered during the height of the storm – either by lightning or high winds. Two of its branches pierced 67-year-old Joan O’Hara’s roof.

“It could have been worse,” said O’Hara. “It could have been much worse.”

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