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911 Calls Released From Washington Tornadoes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Callers describe the funnel clouds and widespread damage following the Nov. 18 tornadoes. (Published Thursday, Nov 13, 2014)

    Newly-released 911 calls provide new insight into the fear and panic felt by Washington residents during last month's tornadoes.

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    Lauren Jiggetts talks to tornado victims still struggling to get back on their feet. (Published Thursday, Nov 21, 2013)

    Washington's 911 center only received three calls before the power went out at 11:03 a.m., but as soon as the funnel clouds were in sight, callers flooded other 911 dispatch centers in Tazewell County.

    At first, callers were begging for help, but moments later, callers began describing the widespread damage.

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    [CHI] Washington, IL Tornado Fundraiser
    Join NBC-5 meteorologists Cheryl Scott & Alicia Roman for a special American Red Cross Disaster Relief Benefitting Washington, IL tornado victims. (Published Sunday, Dec 1, 2013)

    We've got people trapped in houses, flooded houses with people trapped. We've got the whole north side of town destroyed so we're just calling everybody in. -- Dispatcher

    Two people were killed when the EF-4 tornado with winds topping 200 mph ripped apart the community. Close to 1,000 homes were destroyed in seconds.

    There's a gas leak next door. We got hit hard ... yeah, that's right by my house. It's devastating over here but we gotta get somebody over here to turn it off. -- Caller

    Some of the victims reached out for help from amid the rubble.

    Caller: 911 please help. The tornado knocked our whole house down. My mom's shoulder is hurt. Please help.
    Dispatcher: Do you need an ambulance there? Caller: Yes we need an ambulance, the whole house is freaking knocked down. Do you understand that our whole block of houses is knocked down? Do you understand this?