Storm Wreaks Havoc in Kankakee Valley

Francesville Fire Station Two sustained damage due to a tornado

Several buildings sustained damage after tornadoes touched down in Francesville Wednesday morning. Francesville Fire Chief, Tim Wuethrich, talked about the event.

“It appears that we had a tornado touch down in two spots in Francesville, maybe three,” said Wuethrich. “It took three poles out on the highway, leveled a building that we call Station Two, our other fire station. We had a fire truck in there that’s underneath the rubble. It took part of a roof off a house on the other end of town. I’ve been at Incident Command the whole time so I haven’t assessed the damage yet.”

Wuethrich was asked if an emergency team was assembled or if tornado sirens were activated.

“We got paged from the county that there was a tornado sighted in Rensselaer as soon as everybody got to the station the tornado hit. I mean, it was instant. Nobody got hurt, there were no injuries and nobody is without a home that I know of. There was nothing really major other than this building was the biggest part of the damage.”

Storm damage by Oregon-Davis Schools

Oregon Davis students were sent home Wednesday when power went out at the school. High School Principal, Greg Briles, said even though power was restored, it was decided to send the students home.

“We just didn’t want to put our kids in a bad situation of being in a building where it was stuffy and hot. You know how it is when that happens. You get hot and stuffy and you get agitated and the next thing you know, you have issues,” said Briles.

Briles said they were as prepared as could be for the power outage.

“Every one of our teachers has a flashlight to make sure that if students need to get to their lockers they can get to their lockers. We have emergency lighting in all the rooms as well as our gymnasium and cafeteria.”

The principal said they prepare for just such a situation as power outages, fires or tornadoes with drills.

“We have tornado drills every semester and then we also have our fire drills every month. We just had a fire drill yesterday (Tuesday).”

Crews work on an electric outage in front of the Hamlet Industrial Park
Janet Rhoades from Pulaski County REACT directs traffic while the Fire Department assesses damage at Fire Station Two
Pulaski County REACT crews were stationed at the main Francesville Fire Department building
A plaque was removed from the fire department building
Francesville Fire Department Two building
If you look closely, you can see a fire truck amongst the rubble
A tree did some damage to a home after the tornado knocked over the tree
This is what the clouds looked like while the WKVI News team was on the way to Francesville. It downpoured while pictures were being taken and while conducting the interview!