Pekin tornado victims struggle to cope with loss of homes

By Marshanna Hester

November 17, 2013 Updated Nov 18, 2013 at 1:12 AM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- Michael Davis and his wife were out picking up a prescription Sunday morning when he got the phone call about his home.

He was devastated at the sight.

"I've been around a lot of things, death included, but no, nothing like this, not to us, you never think it's going to happen to you," said Davis. "I just thank God we're alive, never expected any of this, ever."

The backyard of one home is no longer, and what used to be a wooden playground was just thrown around like a toy by the force of the tornado.

"We heard the sirens go off so we looked out back and we could see the white funnel," said Jacque Smith. "It was going, down, up, down, up, but when it went down and got a tail on it and started coming at us, my husband said let's hit the basement."

That proved to be a smart decision.

Smith's roof is heavily damaged along with the garage and broken windows.

The story is the same for many residents in the Marigold Estates area of Pekin and those along Truman Drive.

"Its like a bomb went off," said Erik Nell. "Everything was just demolished, destroyed."

Pekin Police say several tornado-ravaged areas have been evacuated for safety.

Crews have accounted for those in the hard-hit neighborhoods.

Officers will be there to protect people's property during an enforced curfew.

"I feel sorry for people who live out here," said Robert DeJaynes. "They're nice people and now they've got all this to deal with, right before Thanksgiving. That's a bummer."

But on this day, many people giving thanks to be alive.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.