(PEKIN)(Leader - Democrat) - Around 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, a deadly tornado tore through Pekin, striking the southeast side. 5 people are confirmed dead; at least 10 to 12 others were injured. Air ambulances transported many to regional hospitals.
As of 7 p.m., no further casualties had been identified by emergency personnel, and all homes in the affected area had been searched. Numerous roads in Pierce, Polk, and
Jackson townships had been blocked by downed trees and power lines, but most have been cleared and reopened and power had been restored to most of the area.
Numerous homes and businesses have been flattened, including Saroyan Hardwoods, Worley Lumber, Burnett's Welding, and Mould-Rite. Most homes in that vicinity on East Voyles Road are destroyed as well. The full extent of the damage is not yet known, but dozens of other homes in the area have been lost.
Emergency workers set up at the Pierce-Polk Fire Station in downtown Pekin. Nearly all county and township fire departments responded, as well as numerous emergency workers from surrounding counties.
Many witnesses described the tornado as a large black funnel cloud which appeared, touched down, and then swept through the area and disappeared.
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