1 killed in Washington Illinois as tornado devastates area

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Debris of people’s lives is tossed in every direction in Washington, Illinois.

Looking at the damage from the air, it is amazing that only one life was lost in the town of Washington.  The victim was identified as 51-year-old Steve Neubauer.

But, residents are sharing their stories of survival.

78-year-old Mary Kail spoke from her Peoria hospital bed about her own narrow escape.

“I could see the tornado was starting to come down and then debris started flying,” she said.  “So we quick ran in the house, grabbed a flashlight, got downstairs in the basement.  I was the first to go under the steps.  Then all the hard rains and winds and then about that fast it was over.  All of a sudden my legs felt like they were paralyzed and they hurt something terrible. Then, I guess my heart stopped. They put the paddles on me and I snapped out of it.”

Kail suffered from a broken nose, was badly bruised and lost a lot of blood.

40-year-old Kris Lancaster shot video of Sunday’s tornado and stood transfixed as the massive tornado approached.  It literally tore his neighborhood apart.  His wife begged him to take shelter with her and the couple’s children.  He said he dove for the basement just in time.

“By the time I got there, it hit and this whole side of my house was coming this way through my house and coming in on me.”

Within four minutes the Lancasters say everything was gone.

The governor and other elected officials toured the area today, vowing to do all they can for residents here as quickly as they can.

“We are the people of Illinois and we are the people of Washington, Illinois,” Gov Quinn said. “And we are good and true and it’s important that we come together as a family here  and help our fellow members who’ve been devastated by this tornado.”

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