Gov. Bruce Rauner Reacts to Tornado Damage, Plans Visit to Pontiac

“Diana and I are thinking of those who were injured or suffered property damage in the storms and send our prayers to you," Gov. Rauner said

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ale“Given the reports of tornado touchdowns across north-central Illinois last night, we are fortunate things are not worse and are thankful there were no fatalities,” Gov. Rauner said in a Thursday morning statement. “Diana and I are thinking of those who were injured or suffered property damage in the storms and send our prayers to you.” 

The National Weather Service in Chicago confirmed at least four tornadoes touchdowns in Seneca, Pontiac, Piper City and Paw Paw. The number of confirmed tornadoes will likely increase as survey crews investigate the damage spawned along three separate supercell paths, the Associated Press reports. 

“I continue to receive regular updates from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency on damage assessment and cleanup today, and the Illinois State Police are on patrol offering assistance to local law enforcement,” Rauner said. “A special thanks to our first responders and volunteers who have been working tirelessly throughout the night to ensure the safety of our citizens.” 

The Mayor of Pontiac, Bob Russell, said in a Thursday news conference the governor called and offered “all the help that we need” while the city recovers from the powerful storms. 

“When you see all the damage – behind us the brick wall lying down, the wood board through the windshield of a car – the fact that no one was hurt was a miracle,” Russell said. “ 

Although at least 4 people reported suffering broken bones and other minor injuries, Russell said he is thankful, pointing to a building that was being used for shelter for drivers pulling off the interstate. 

“There could have been 50 to 100 people killed right here,” Russell said. 

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