A security camera at a brewery in suburban Woodridge captured the terrifying moment a tornado tore through the community Sunday night.
A Ring camera at the Skeleton Key Brewery caught several minutes of the severe weather, with the footage first showing lightning strikes in the distance behind dumpsters positioned in view of the camera.
Rain begins to fall, the video shows, and just as quickly as the first drops can be seen, a downpour begins, with the torrential winds whipping the rain nearly parallel with the ground at times.
The National Weather Service said Tuesday that an EF-3 tornado hit several suburbs, including Naperville and Woodridge, packing winds of 140 miles per hour and damaging more than 200 homes in the 20 minutes that it was on the ground.
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The tornado destroyed the brewery, ripping the roof from the building and leaving a horrific mess inside.
“I heard over the police scanner when they said it was ‘extreme structural damage at 8102 Lemont Road,” Emily Slayton, co-owner of the brewery, said. “I lost it.”
Slayton is devastated, but says she’s grateful that no one was inside the building at the time of the storm. She said her husband and brother had just completed a renovation on the building before the tornado hit.
“We had just done an expansion. We had been working on it throughout COVID,” Paul Slayton said. “We just opened it up in February. Things had finally started turning around and coming back, and it all just went away in one day.”
Now, the Slaytons are getting a helping hand from the local brewing community, as they help the team at Skeleton Key move kegs, sell cases of beer, and show their support in a difficult time.
“We have so many people here,” Paul Slayton said. “There’s people here today helping us salvage the beer we have. A lot of our friends are putting our beer on tap. This means the world to us.”
Another brewer in the area set up an online fundraiser to help, and it raised more than $70,000 in just one day.
The brewery’s equipment appears to still be in working order, but it will have to be located in a new building. The Slayton’s say they hope to rebuild the facility, but will focus in the short-term on ensuring that their staff is okay and supported.