Taylorville residents stunned by destruction of December tornado

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. – Taylorville, Illinois residents are trying to pick up the pieces Monday after a tornado ripped through their community.  The worst damage from Saturday’s outbreak of tornadoes was in Christian County Illinois.

A 9 p.m. curfew that had been imposed on Taylorville was lifted Monday morning.

At least one tornado tore through homes and businesses in the small community.

Governor Bruce Rauner toured the devastated area Sunday, promising state aid to help with clean-up and people back on their feet.  Monday, Rauner declared Christian County a disaster area freeing up state resources and personnel to aid the area's recovery.

More than 500 structures were damaged in Taylorville and neighboring Hewittville.

Tree limbs toppled to the ground, several houses flattened or destroyed. It looks like a war zone here and crews are scrambling to restore power to thousands of customers.

Now residents are going through the debris to try and salvage what they can.

Bommarito Automotive SkyFox was over Taylorville Monday afternoon. The video clearly shows the damage and the path of destruction Mother Nature left behind.

At least 12 tornadoes were reported in Illinois Saturday, including one confirmed tornado in Taylorville.

The storm resulted in 21 people needing treatment at area hospitals. Ameren Illinois says at least 100 power poles had been destroyed.

Some homes remained standing but with gaping holes in roofs or no roofs at all.

Crews in Taylorville will continue to search for people who may be trapped and to help with the clean-up.

Fox 2/News 11 was told an advance warning gave people critical time to seek shelter and saved lives. Now the community is coming together to try and help each other, as residents are still in shock by the damage.

“The kindness of the community, everyone has come together to help everyone out,” said resident Jessica Lael.

“It's just amazing how people come together, we had so many communities, different law enforcement come in to help us, it’s just fantastic,” said Christian CountySheriff Bruce Kettelkamp. "I am thankful nobody ended up dying, unbelievable we have not had any deaths."

All city public schools were closed Monday to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Work crews have made tremendous progress in getting the roads clear but many remained blocked.