Watch CBS News

This Month Marks 5 Years Since Tornado Ravaged DeKalb County Town Of Fairdale

FAIRDALE, Ill. (CBS) -- This month marks five years since an EF-4 tornado swept through the DeKalb County community of Fairdale, leaving several homes and businesses flattened.

As CBS 2's Ed Curran reported Wednesday, all we saw was complete devastation when we came through Fairdale in the Mobile Weather Lab in the aftermath of the April 9, 2015 tornado. The town of 200 people is located less than 20 miles southeast of Rockford.

The wind speeds ratcheted up to 200 mph as the tornado swept through. Two people died in the tornado and 22 were injured.

Geraldine Schultz, 67, was found dead inside her home. Jacklyn Klosa, 69, who was missing after the tornado hit, and later found dead in her home during a second search of the town the following morning.

Here is what Curran saw just after the tornado ripped through.

Fairdale Neighborhood Damage-Ed Curran

Fairdale Home Damages_Ed Curran

Fairdale Home Damaged_Ed Curran

Fairdale Street Damage_Ed Curran

Fairdale Neighborhood Damage_Ed Curran

Fairdale Home Damage_Ed Curran

Fairdale Street Scene_Ed Curran

Fairdale Tree Damage_Ed Curran

Fairdale was not the only community hit. The tornado also tore through the north side of Rochelle, a city of about 9,500 people located about 25 miles south of Rockford.

The monster tornado is seen churning terrifyingly in a photo by Northern Illinois University's Walker Ashley.

On radar, satellite views show the tornado track clearly as it scoured through fields and towns in Northern Illinois.

The tornado was on the ground for 30 miles, and at its widest, it was nearly a half mile wide.

In the ensuing five years, there has been a lot of new construction in the tiny town of Fairdale, Illinois. Great-looking homes have risen from destruction.

In nearby Rochelle, it took just 17 months for Grubsteakers Family Restaurant to be rebuilt. It was destroyed by the twister with a dozen people trapped in its cellar.

Although Fairdale's infrastructure was improved after the tornado, scars still remain. But the little town was nearly wiped off the map, so the progress is tremendous.

In all tornado-ravaged communities, there is someone who continues to tell the story. It's the trees.

They were shattered by the storm, but like the town itself, they are a bit broken, yet alive and well.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.