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Demolition Crews Find Beauty (The Cat) Amid Devastation In Fairdale

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For nearly a week now, WBBM Newsradio traffic reporter Kris Habermehl has been in the tornado zone near Rockford, serving as a volunteer firefighter.

On Tuesday, a cat was pulled from the rubble of a house that was about to be demolished in Fairdale.

"A little gray long-haired cat, kind of dusty," Habermehl said. "Tried to give her a little bit of water. She wouldn't take the water. She just kind of looked around. She's still in a daze."

The demolition crew who found the cat has named her Beauty.

Meantime, in the center of the devastation in Fairdale, a trailer dubbed the "Fairdale General Store" has become a gathering place for survivors, emergency crews, and others helping with recovery efforts.

"It's kind of a turn toward normalcy that something organized has been established, and you can have friendly conversation, or you can vent your frustrations or opinions," he said.


The trailer stocks a little bit of everything, for free, including therapy.

"It lets you have some sort of peace of mind, that yeah everything will be alright. We may look a little ratty right now," Habermehl said.

He said everyone in Fairdale is exhausted. Those whose homes were destroyed by the twister have been going through police checkpoints to search for lost possessions, often photos.

"You get quite overwrought, emotional, tired – physically tired, mentally tired, emotionally tired – and some people are going to stay. Some people are going to go," he said.

Fairdale Aftermath
Damage left behind by a deadly tornado that hit Fairdale, Illinois. (Credit: Kris Haberhehl/WBBM)
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