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Quick, strong storms leave trail of damage around Chicago area

Quick round of storms leave trail of damage throughout Chicago area
Quick round of storms leave trail of damage throughout Chicago area 03:10

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A round of storms were quick as they barreled through the Chicago area on Wednesday afternoon, but they left damage and even horror.

A 13-year-old girl was critically injured when lightning struck just before 3 p.m. at the Garfield Park Conservatory on the city's West Side. Witnesses told CBS 2 the girl was in the parking lot with her family when the bolt struck.

"We thought it hit a tree. Then we saw an ambulance and knew it was a girl," said witness Jordan Garrett. "She was 13. She was really small. It's scary, because it could've been me or someone else."

It was not clear whether the girl was directly struck by lightning and if so, where on her body she was struck.  She was taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in critical condition.

The storms brought damage far and wide around the area and the region. In Kankakee, the trunk of a large tree split and ended up in a backyard.

Several alleys were also left littered with branches downed by the storm. Our crews say the damage there is widespread.

Back in the city of Chicago, the storms left several tree branches strewn about the streets in the Northwest Side's Avondale neighborhood. Fallen branches also landed on top of cars and even homes.

"I was just chilling in my room, and I was about to play video games; hop on with my friends, and I heard lightning strike a few times in the area," Luca Aceves told CBS 2's Marybel González.

A quiet afternoon for the Aceves family was interrupted by what sounded like thunder from afar – which there was plenty of Wednesday. But in their case, it turned out to be something worse.

"I hear a crack in the tree and really big rumble. It sounded like an earthquake almost," Luca said, "and I come and look outside and I see a tree falling down, and I go into my mom's room as she's sleeping and I tell her."

The tree would end up falling on top of a multi-unit frame house in Avondale – damaging all three stories.


"I was just like a little like shocked; a little overwhelmed," said Ellen Aceves.

The top of the tree lunged into the window of the third story, where Mike Hoskins was working from his laptop.

"And then boom!" Hoskins said. "You know, the wind picked up, and the next thing you know, the tree was in the house."

Luckily, no one was hurt. But along with the building, cars and other trees in the area were damaged by the storm.

And residents will have to wait until city crews come by and help with the cleanup.

"It could be like that for days, and I hope not," Hoskins said, "because it's only getting hotter weather-wise, and still, I think it's going to rain again."

As 8:30 p.m., ComEd said about 2,300 customers were without power due to the storm. ComEd said it had crews working Wednesday night assessing the damage and working to repair the outages as soon as possible.

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