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Naperville Residents Survey Devastation, Help Each Other After Tornado

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) -- Many families' lives were changed drastically overnight, following a tornado that left some homes virtually destroyed in Naperville.

The tornado in Naperville has been deemed consistent with an EF-3 rating with 140 mph wind speeds.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, many families in Naperville will be relying on family and friends to take them in. Some people were also staying with their neighbors or at nearby hotels after their homes were left missing walls and roofs.

Many of these structures are too dangerous even to venture inside to look for belongings.

The damage is incredibly hit-or-miss out in the neighborhood around 75th Street and Ranchview Drive. Many homes were unscathed, but others had their roofs and their walls completely blown out.

In one house among a row that took some of the brunt of the tornado's damage, the bedroom and living room here were left exposed to the elements.

Many people remarked how incredible it was that no one was killed.

Daylight exposed the breathtaking damage after a sleepless night for many.

"I just hear all the glass shatter, because that window broke and the other windows in those rooms broke," said Ahinkv Bawankule. "It was just crazy."

It was raining into the upstairs bedroom when the tornado took a chunk of their roof with it.

Sunshine streamed Monday through the massive tornado-made skylight in Bawankule's ceiling. Meanwhile, his mother was among those injured during the tornado – a total of 14 people had to be taken to hospitals.

"She got cut in an artery on her leg, so there's quite a bit of blood loss," he said.

Jim Dougherty and his family also sustained their fair share of cuts from glass and other debris.

"That siren thing that went off on the phones," said Jim Dougherty. "If it wasn't for that, God knows what would have happened."

Dougherty and his wife woke up a little after 11 p.m.

"And boom! The roof was between us right between us -- right on the bed where I just got up," he said, adding that he wasn't even sure if it was his roof.

In fact, Dougherty thinks it was the side wall of his neighbor's bedroom that crashed into his room. The wall of that bedroom was pulled cleanly off the house.

"It was pouring cold rain on us," he said.

Their arms and legs were cut up crawling to safety.

While many of the homes in the area were still livable after the tornado, others were far from it. Antoine Dodier was taking in his neighbors Monday night after their home was destroyed.

"I mean, we'll see. They can't stay in their house. We'll take them for as long as we have to, and you know, just clean up basically," Dodier said. "As I said, we're lucky."

He and his young son surveyed their damage this afternoon — minimal compared to the devastation just a few feet across the street.

The worst damage was found at this home across the street that was completely leveled.

"We worried some people would be in the rubble, so we went around a bit - and yeah, we went to bed around 3 o'clock or something like that," Dodier said.

Other neighbors handed out food and water. Many were just left staring, speechless at the wreckage left by a brief but powerful tornado.

"We feel like it could have been us," said Preeti Kapoor. "It could have been any one of us."

Emergency responders were out all day Monday directing traffic and helping to coordinate the cleanup, and those efforts were to continue into the evening. A shelter has also been opened for residents at Thomas Jefferson Junior High School, at 7200 Janes Ave. in Woodridge.

Meanwhile, the City of Naperville advised that those in the immediate area where the tornado caused the most severe damage can expect brief, rolling power outages as crews restore service to 300 customers who are without power.

City crews will continue to assess damage to parkway trees and city property, and residents are advised to use the Parkway Service Tree request form on the Naperville city website.

City inspectors will also continue conducting damage assessments. Only one home was completely destroyed by the tornado, but 19 were deemed uninhabitable by the city.

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said more than 100 homes were damaged. Some had windows blown out, others have holes in their roofs and some lost entire walls.

Those who wish to volunteer in the relief and cleanup efforts are should contact the Naperville Community Services Department at (630) 305-5300 or email They will be placed on a list that will be provided to the Red Cross.

People can also donate money to the Red Cross online, and information about donations to food pantries is available at the Naperville city website..

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