Thunderstorm topples tree on home, killing Illinois woman

Illinois

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a northern Illinois woman died this week when a thunderstorm toppled a tree onto her mobile home, killing her and trapping her boyfriend and two young granddaughters inside. The Rockford Fire Department says 55-year-old Lorene Joy Gerken of Rockford died Wednesday morning when the falling tree crushed the back half of her mobile home. Gerken’s sister, Patty Holbach, tells the Chicago Tribune that one of Gerken’s granddaughters was pinned to the home’s bathroom floor, and her boyfriend was trapped elsewhere. The youngest granddaughter managed to get out out of the crushed home and firefighters soon rescued the boyfriend and other granddaughter.

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