Second death by tornado in Washington, rescuers tell her story

By WEEK Reporter

November 29, 2013 Updated Nov 30, 2013 at 11:33 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- A second Washington Resident died -- the seventh death in Illinois -- as a result of the November 17th tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest. The Peoria County coroner says 82-year-old Rosamund Allison died last night at OSF St. Francis Medical Center from injuries sustained when the twister hit. An autopsy is pending.

Family friends and rescuers said that Allison was picked up by the winds of the EF-4 tornado. Some of the neighbors that came to her rescue told her story that fateful night.

"I can't explain it. I mean everything was just so nuts. People were screaming everywhere and wanting help," said Allison's neighbor Denny Klein.

Rosamund Allison was one of those people. She lived on Elgin Ave. in a house that neighbors now can barely recognize due to the damage from the November 17th tornado. The 82-year-old was picked up by the tornado and dropped back into the debris. Denny Klein and his neighbor helped her move to safety.

"He couldn't see her at first," said Klein. "She had carpeting around her on the top of the couch."

Then Klein smelled something funny.

"The gas was coming out... the smell... We didn't know what was going to happen, so we did move her and that's when Kelsey and my wife took over," said Klein.

They moved her to a safe spot away from debris. Kelsey Heavrin is Denny Klein's step daughter. As a lifeguard, she knew the basics of first aid and tended to Allison's wounds.

"Her face was all blood, and she said that her back hurt really bad," said Heavrin. "But she could wiggle her toes and she was talking to her husband."

After seeing that Allison was in pain and bleeding, her lifeguard instincts kicked in.

"The first thing I thought of was cleaning up her cuts because I knew it was going to rain again," said Heavrin. "So I went to my house and got hydrogen peroxide and poured it on her face to clean up the bad cuts."

Allison was covered with tarp. It was raining, and they didn't want her to get wet. she was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center a while later that same day. Allison later died at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Thanksgiving night.

"I just can't believe it," said Klein. "I didn't think it was life threatening...that it would take her life."

Heavrin added, "You're so happy because you hear of so little casualties. And all this time has past you think she's going to be okay and then you hear of her passing, and it's just kind of a hard hit hearing that she didn't make it. I wish I could of saved her for good, but we did the best we could."

Denny Klein, Kelsey Heavrin and others who helped are still heros.

"I would do anything to save her," said Heavrin near tears. "I , thought, feel really good that we kept her comfortable and kept her safe at the time."