“It could have been a lot worse”

EDWARDSVILLE – Windows and roofs can be replaced, but lives can’t, and that’s why Larry Curry Jr. and his family feel lucky to have survived the events of December 10 with nothing more than a damaged house.

It was the night an EF-3 tornado struck shortly after 8:30 p.m. at an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, killing six people and seriously injuring another.

The rapid storm then crossed Interstate 255 and moved into the neighborhood of Country Club Estates, where Curry lives on Camelot Drive, near Sunset Hills Country Club and the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University.

Curry, his wife Tracy, and their 15-year-old son Jake were all home at the time. Her 18-year-old daughter Madi was visiting a friend.

“The siren (tornado warning) had already stopped and my wife and I were sitting at the back of the house on the veranda,” Curry said. “I heard a noise and asked my wife what it was, and she looked out and saw the tornado was in the grass fields across the street.

“My son was upstairs, and he heard it and looked out the window and saw it, but it happened pretty quickly. In about a minute we were all in the basement, when you could hear the house start to shake, then the windows blew.

As fast as it arrived, the tornado passed within minutes.

When they finally came out of the basement, Curry, his wife and son were all shaken by what they had seen and heard.

“Growing up in the Midwest, I think everyone has been close to a tornado at some point, but it was pretty scary,” Curry said. “It was a lot louder than you think, and the house shook more than I thought.

“Once it’s all over and you go upstairs, you don’t really know what you’re going to find. We are very lucky that neither of us were injured, and it could have been a lot worse.

Curry said he was even more shaken up when he heard of the possible deaths in the Amazon warehouse.

“I think the lift crew said something about that when they got to our house about an hour after the storm started,” Curry said. “Someone said Sand Road got hit pretty hard too, and they’re between us and the warehouse. “

Chuck Unger, meanwhile, is president of the Country Club Estates Homeowners Association. He was impressed with how quickly the residents and the City of Edwardsville responded to the situation.

“Shortly after the tornado hit, neighbors were assessing the damage,” Unger said. “It was dark, but downed trees were blocking Glen Echo Drive. Neighbors with chainsaws opened a path wide enough for cars and vans to pass.

Around midnight, city crews arrived with large equipment and opened the roadway for emergency vehicles to pass.

“In the first light of day on Saturday, we started to collect debris, mainly branches and various vegetation, but also building materials, mainly polystyrene and roofing. Soon logging companies, roofing companies, etc., were there to assess and provide services.

“The city said the debris would be picked up from the curb starting Monday. The city crews did a great job of picking up and cleaning up so on Wednesday we looked pretty good as the majority of the mess was gone. While the pace has slowed since the middle of the week, individual owners continue to clean and repair. “

After the storm passed on Friday night, Curry began to assess the damage to his home.

“A lot of our windows blew up and debris blew around the house,” Curry said. “The roof on the second story of the house came off a bit and the exterior walls started to recede.

“I wasn’t sure if the structural damage would occur on both floors or just the second floor, but it appears to be only the second floor. An engineer has come to examine it, so things are moving forward. Our insurance company was great and the adjuster was away on Friday night. The windows were boarded up right away and the roof tarp was in place on Saturday. “

Curry said he and his family were currently staying in a hotel while the insurance company found them a rental home to live in.

He added that it could be three months before all repairs to his house are completed.

“We have contractors and another adjuster coming in early next week to review it, but the engineer has signed it already,” Curry said.

Curry noted the tornado’s narrow path, which limited most of the larger damage to Amazon’s warehouse, Sand Road, and a small portion of Country Club Estates.

“There were several homes in our neighborhood besides ours that were affected, a few with minor damage and a few that were slightly more affected,” said Curry. “The houses on either side of me suffered minor damage, like a broken window or a broken garage door.

“Everyone in the neighborhood was safe and no one was hurt. This is the most important thing.

Curry, like Unger, was impressed with the speed and efficiency of the clean-up efforts at Country Club Estates.

“There was a lot of debris, including roofing material from the Amazon warehouse, and there was another house in the neighborhood where a tree fell on their garage, and another neighbor knocked down a tree. on his truck, ”Curry said. “There were a lot of downed trees and I lost all the trees on the side of my house and a neighbor had one of his trees uprooted.

“It was cleaned up in a few days and the city was happy to take care of it. All the tree branches was in one heap and all the debris was in another heap, and they had trucks going around to pick it up. For the most part, everything was cleaned up on Monday.

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