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Storm rips through apartments, leaves dozens of north Chicago suburban residents displaced

Residents assess storm damage to apartment building in north Chicago suburbs
Residents assess storm damage to apartment building in north Chicago suburbs 02:04

MUNDELEIN, Ill. (CBS) – About 60 north suburban people were displaced after severe weather ripped the roof off a Mundelein apartment building Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, residents wondered when, or if, they would return to those homes.

"One minute, everything was fine, and the next minute, they didn't have a roof," said American Red Cross volunteer Hank Welch.

A local fire chief said it was a miracle no one was seriously hurt. Mundelein officials had the whole building taped off Wednesday because it was deemed too unsafe for residents to return.

CBS 2 learned that a structural engineer came by to examine the building, which had the roof torn off. Pieces of debris were hanging in nearby trees and scattered around the parking lot below. The strength of Tuesday night's winds tore a tree out from the ground.

Suburban Chicago residents displaced after storm rips through apartment building 02:23

The site is where surveyors from the National Weather Service would want to examine.

CBS 2 spoke with one family who lived in the building about the terrifying moments when the storm hit.

Video of the overnight storm, and her school iPad, were some of the last things 11-year-old Yosahandy Aguirre grabbed as she left the only home she's ever known.

"I can't believe what happened to us," said Maria Aguirre, who was celebrating her birthday with her family when the storm rolled in. "It was so scary."

The Aguirre family evacuated their apartment on Washington Boulevard. They were one of 21 families who were displaced by the storm.

Suburban Chicago families displaced after intense storm, "It was so scary" 02:26

"I was just screaming," Maria Aguirre said. "I grabbed my kids and ran into the bathroom. It was, it was so scary. I was so shaky. I prayed for them. I prayed for them."

Residents in the neighboring building watched as the storm passed their homes.

"I was literally right here on that patio and watched that door just blow right out," said neighbor Bill Paddick.

Another resident, Janet Scales, said, "There were just things thrown all over the place. You know, just all over, and ... it sounded like a train. Like a train crash."

The storm left bricks scattered across the pavement. The apartment above the family was missing its roof.

Even with no idea what was next, the Aguirres said they knew it could have been worse.

"The good thing is that we are alive," Maria Aguirre said. "We had nothing happened to us. All my family are fine. My pets are OK."

Residents did come back to the building Wednesday night – but only to assess the aftermath of the powerful storm. They were not able to return to their apartments to get their belongings.

Several families lost everything – saying they do not know where they will go next, but they are thankful everyone is safe.

For now, the American Red Cross is stepping in to help – opening up a shelter at a nearby church.

On Wednesday evening, around 13 people were staying at the shelter.

"Tonight, we have a shelter open. There's a safe place; warm place to sleep; three meals a day," said Welch. "We're replacing medications to those that lost medications, which probably the second floor did."

The Red Cross said the shelter will stay open as long as it is needed. They are also offering counseling to help residents cope with their devastating loss.

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