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Recovery effort begins in Washington, Ill. after twister rips city apart

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WASHINGTON, IL (KTVI)-- People in Washington, Illinois are trying to recover after a tornado ripped through the city Sunday.

Gov. Pat Quinn toured the area Monday. He spoke with survivors and the media about how volunteers are making a difference.

"We will prevail." he said. "Illinois has the heart of a volunteer."

Gov. Quinn said that his priority was helping families who lost their homes.

It is something Ryan Bowers appreciates. He and his wife, Andrea" lost their home in the twister.

"We rode it out in my basement with our two-month-old daughter," he said. "But we are alive."

"We just heard a roar," She said. "And then the basement windows blew out."

As many as 500 home and businesses in the city were damaged.

120 people were injuredand one man was killed in a rural part of the city.

Police are enforcing a curfew from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The goal is to prevent looting and keep people from getting hurt by debris they cannot see in the dark.

Police are also checking IDs to keep people who are not residents out of the area.

250 to 500 homes destroyed by Tornado in Washington, IL

WASHINGTON, IL (KTVI) - Severe weather caused death and destruction across Illinois. The death toll now stands at six in Illinois.

NOAA reports at least 80 tornadoes struck, most of them in Illinois.  Governor Quinn declared seven counties disaster areas so far.  He's scheduled to tour the hardest hit area Monday.

In Washington, Illinois, northwest of Bloomington/Normal -   Governor Quinn will be there at 11 a.m.  One person died in the storm, dozens of others were hurt.  The mayor of Washington believe 250 to 500 homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm.

Mike Vaughn, the Washington fire chief says seeing the damage is overwhelming.  The damage path cut through the city for 2 to 3 miles and was anywhere from an 8th to a 10th of a mile wide.

Several rescue teams were in town going door to door to search for survivors.  More teams will be in Washington on Mondaybut Vaughn believes all the houses are clear.

Steve Wilkers, a Washington, resident had just gotten home from Indianapolis when he heard the sirens.  Then the sirens stopped. He thought they were okay, but he was wrong.

The sky had been rumbling for 15 to 20 minutes  when he wife said they needed to get downstairs and within less than a minute, Wilker says he could hear the house crackling.

"You can't begin to understand the emotions of the folks in Joplin and other areas until everything around you is taken in a minute and a half," Wilkers said.

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