EAST PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — 10 years ago, an E4 tornado ripped through central Illinois, leaving behind a path of debris and destruction.
Now, the City of East Peoria is looking back on that historic time and how it overcame the devastation.
“Time goes by fast, it doesn’t seem like it’s been ten years,” said East Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Zimmerman.
East Peoria Fire Chief, Bobby Zimmerman was a firefighter on duty on that fateful November day in 2013. He spoke about the sights he vividly remembers from the aftermath.
“You would be in the same hundred block of the street, and there would be one or two houses completely missing, and then the house next door or across the street was untouched,” said Zimmerman. “I just vividly remember you would see so much destruction in one part and then look across the street and see nothing. Huge trees were up-rooted, there was a massive amount of damage in the tri-county area there.”
Chief Zimmerman also spoke about the challenges of cleaning up the natural disaster and how it took several weeks to clean up the city.
“It was a lot, Obviously, there were trees down everywhere, so our public works division was very busy,” Zimmerman said. “Our cops were very busy keeping everything secure. we had the houses to search as the fire department, so we took care of those. It’s not something that you just wake up the next day and the problem is gone, it was a long-lasting event,” said the Chief.
The tornado resulted in the death of three people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.